Safe Sanctuaries Online
A question I have been asked recently is “how do we follow Safe Sanctuaries when our youth group is meeting in an online format?”
To summarize, you should consider the following:
It’s an important question because the risks are still there and perhaps more so in an online format. Luckily, there are several resources available to help you and your church refine your Safe Sanctuaries policy to include online meetings.
Both of these resources come from Discipleship Ministries:
- The two adult rule: Even though you are online, you should have two adults on your Zoom (or whatever format you are using) call.
- Recording: If you are going to record or live stream your Zoom calls and minors are on the call, you don’t want to share that recording or live stream in public unless you have parental permission from every student on the call. If you want to record for your own internal uses, that is okay but I would still clear it with parents and remind everyone that the call is recorded.
- Do not list the link to the Zoom call publicly. Have parents reach out to you if they need the link or just send it out to your specific group of parents. Zoom bombing is a real problem and if your link is public, it invites issues that you are better off just not having to deal with.
- Monitor the chat. If you can’t do that yourself, trust another adult with that job. Remind participants that the host can read all chats after the meeting, even if they are sent privately.
Above all, we want to “do no harm.”
Since we are now in a new year, it may be a great time to revisit your church’s Safe Sanctuary policy and add in policies for online usage. The online platforms we have been forced to adapt to during the pandemic are not going away anytime soon.
Rev. Chris Kindle, our Director of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation, is offering a video series called “Safe Sanctuaries in 60 Seconds.”
Each video focuses on a different topic related to Safe Sanctuaries. See the first episode here
If you have Safe Sanctuaries questions, please reach out to Amanda Gilligan (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Chris Kindle (email@example.com) at the Conference Center.