Safety Basics: Step 7
Sample Internet Safety Policies for Churches
See Section E of the Insurance Board's Policy Template (Follow link and click on "Policy Template" to download)
Basic Standards for Adults
Never "friend" a child on any form of technology and social media without written permission from the guardian.
Never have a one-on-one conversation in an e-mail, chat, or video room. If a child begins a chat, make them aware that a third party needs to be included.
Always e-mail parents when e-mailing youth information.
Have permission from the child's guardian to text message, chat, e-mail, or use any other form of communication.
Do not post pictures, videos, etc. of the child without written permission from a guardian.
Live by the covenant signed in the technology and social media world. Do not post pictures, information, blogs and so forth that go against the example you are expected to set for the children.
If you see something bothersome posted by a guardian or child/youth, you have a responsibility to respond through the policies and methods set out by your congregation. You should double check the Mandatory Reporting Standards.
Use technology and social media to encourage, engage, and enliven your ministry!
Conversations with Children, Youth, and Guardians
Most younger children are not engaged in social media, but many are engaged in technology very early on. As children get older they begin to enter into social media through those around them and then on their own.
Guardians need to know how to set limits and engage with technology and social media.
It is important to have sacred and faithful conversations about how one's faith is still part of one's technological and online presence.
It is important to begin age appropriate conversations about the dangers of the technology and social media.
This training is also included in the Praesidium courses offered for FREE by the Insurance Board.
Your child will also want to learn about how information shared on the internet can reflect on him or her in the future.
Current Popular Forms of Technology and Social Media
E-mail: A system for sending messages from one individual to another between computer devices.
Apps: A specialized program for mobile devices (Examples: Daily Devotions, Games, GPS)
Text Messaging: An electronic message sent over a cellular network from one cell phone to another by typing words
QR Code: (Quick Response Code) is a barcode. If a cell phone or tablet user has a “QR code app (application)” on their phone or device, he or she can take a picture of the QR code. This picture will take the person directly to a website. People use these to advertise webpages on their business cards. Some stores use these as a way for people to find deals and coupons.
Facebook: A website that allows people to connect with friends who are also members. People “post” status updates, pictures, articles, games and other information they want to “share” about their life. If a person “likes” what someone has posted, then he or she can push a button that say “like” or make a comment.
Twitter: A website that also encourages people to “tweet” updates about their lives. You can “follow” a person that is your friend, celebrity, or a common interest group. In general, active twitter and facebook users “tweet” more than facebook people “post.” They are similar, but still have their own styles. Twitter uses “#” (hashtag) and”@” (at) symbols to direct “tweets” to specific people. Facebook just “tags” people by typing in their name.
Instagram: This is the picture version. People take pictures of their lives and “post” them to facebook, twitter, or some other site. These pictures can be changed in fun ways to share images from a person’s life.
Pintrest: People “pin” images, recipes, creative ideas, and almost anything to a bulletin-type board that has other resources that are the same genre. You can access other people’s boards and then add images, etc. to your board that matches your theme. An example is if you are looking for banana bread recipes, you will find someone who has already done the legwork for you and has a lot of options on their board.
Skype, Google Hangout, OoVoo, Facetime: Populare face-to-face "telephone" and messenger programs. These allow people to have a live video conversation with one another.
YouTube and Vimeo: These websites are where people post videos. When a video becomes really popular it is said to have “gone viral.” Videos can be shared on the other social media websites.
Linkedin: This is the website is for its members to make professional connections.
More Popular Forms of Technology from The Steward
Snapchat: permits sending photos to a selected group that can be viewed for only 1-10 seconds. Teens are taking comfort in this, sending explicit photos, but not realizing images can be saved with a screenshot.
Pinger: Also a messaging platform that permits users to conceal their identity. Records of transmissions not kept. It has been used for bullying and stalking. The sender can open and close accounts using different phone numbers making it difficult to trace the source.
Ask.fm: Facebook on steroids with no rules and no accountability. One research source says, “As a back-channel for after-school chitchat that can stay anonymous, the app often exacerbates offline drama and has beenlinked to a handful of teen suicides.” –
Tumblr: A blogging site where users can get into heavy or unhealthy subjects. A teen can search subjects such as suicide and get linked to images or blogs on the subject. Such blogs may, for example, glorify dangerous behaviors.
Instagram: A photo/video clip sharing site. This is similar to vine. Both provide some level of control by allowing users to determine their connections.
- The Steward is the joint effort of:
Carl J. Kotheimer, Director Loss Control & Claims and Elizabeth Vance, Marketing & Communications Coordinator,
Winter 2014, Insurance Board, www.insuranceboard.org
Technology & Social Media
Technology and social media are not negative until people use them in negative ways. It's important for anyone working with children and youth to stay up-to-date on the most current forms of technology to enhance awareness and keep kids' engagement with technology appropriate.
This page was last updated by JK 9/29/14