Social Networking Guidance – Appendix 2

 Appendix 2- Guidelines for Digital/Social Networking Use in the Congregations

  • Adults should not initiate social media contact with children or youth. Youth may not be able to decline such requests due to the disparity of power between youth and adults.
  • Youth may initiate social media contact and adults should discern the level of contact they want to maintain with youth prior to responding to these requests.
  • Any material on any site that raises suspicion that a child has been or will be abused/neglected/exploited should be immediately reported to the Department of Child and Family Services or the police (see Appendix I). If the material is on an Assembly affiliated site, that material should be documented for Assembly’s records and then removed from the site after consultation with the Department of Child and Family Services and/or police.
  • Inappropriate material that does not raise suspicion that a child has been or will be abused/neglected/exploited should immediately be removed from the site.
  • Social networking groups for MYF/JYF should be open to parents/guardians of current members.
  • Unsupervised internet access by children is not permitted during Assembly sponsored events.
  • When the need for a digital communication platform is identified, a group of people should be tasked with leading it. They should create a behavioral covenant to govern what content is appropriate and inappropriate for any social media group created on behalf of Assembly.
    • Recommendations for Behavioral Covenants
      • Covenants should acknowledge that materials posted on Assembly affiliated sites (and/or group pages) are NOT CONFIDENTIAL.
      • Covenants should acknowledge that content deemed inappropriate will be removed from the site or group page.
      • Covenants for Assembly-related social media groups should address the following:
      • Appropriate language
      • Eligibility of membership to join a social networking group.
      • Whether you have to be part of the congregation and whether there are age requirements/restrictions for participation.
      • Loss of eligibility of membership and removal from the social networking group. (Consider how and when members will be removed from the group due to moving away, leaving the faith community, becoming too old for youth group, pastors leaving to minister elsewhere)
      • Who, how and when members may be identified by name in text or in photos.
      • Appropriate and inappropriate behavior of members (bullying, pictures that depict abuse, violence, sexual acts, etc.) and the consequence for inappropriate behavior.
      • Compliance with mandated reporting laws regarding suspected abuse.