This policy is to be read in conjunction with the Worksop Priory Church Safeguarding Policy.
Church – E-Safety Policy
The use of information and communication technologies (ICT), including the Internet, has developed rapidly and now involves many members of all ages within Priory Church. The Internet has become an integral part of people’s lives, providing access to information and networking for social, business and educational purposes. Churches are more and more regularly using “new media” to communicate not just with their members but also the world in which they exist. By linking this Policy with our Child Protection Policy, we seek to promote the safe use of new technology and media by all members of Priory Church community.
At Priory Church we recognize the range of e-safety issues and plan accordingly to help ensure the appropriate, effective and safe use of electronic communications within our church community.
E-Safety encompasses not only Internet technologies but also electronic communications such as mobile phones and wireless technology. It highlights the need to ensure all our church members are aware of the benefits, risks and responsibilities of using information technology. It provides safeguards and raises awareness to enable users to control their online experiences. The Internet is an unmanaged, open communications channel.
The World Wide Web, e-mail, blogs and social networking all transmit information using the Internet’s communication infrastructure internationally at low cost. Anyone can send messages, discuss ideas and publish material with little restriction. These features of the Internet make it an invaluable resource used by millions of people every day.
Much of the material on the Internet is published for an adult audience and some is unsuitable for children. In addition, there is information on weapons, crime and racism, access to which would be more restricted elsewhere. We should all be aware that publishing personal information could compromise our own safety as well as that of others.
Why Use the Internet in the life of Worksop Priory Church
The Worksop Priory Churches website is a means of sharing information and resources across the church community and making relevant information about our Church available to those who wish to find out about us.
Internet use and text messaging are key methods of communicating with teenagers and/or their families.
Use of the internet enables fast, efficient and environmentally friendly sharing of information, documents and media.
Access to the Internet is no longer limited to wired, desktop style computers and is readily available across a range if devices, including mobile phones. As a result, we are unable to control everything a web user might see while on church premises or at a church event. At Priory Church we take the following precautions to minimise this risk and ensure that users access only appropriate information: –
3.1 Internet access is available either through the office PC or the wireless network. No-one under 18 should be able to use the office PC without suitable supervision. Access to the wireless network requires a password – this will not normally be available to anyone under the age of 18 and wireless access should always be supervised by appropriate adults.
As ease of access, and the number of access points, increase, we will review the need for filtering software.
Group leaders should always preview websites they anticipate using with groups, including any material on them and assess their suitability for their group.
Church members are encouraged to inform a member the Church Leadership Team immediately if they encounter any material that upsets them, they feel is offensive or they feel may cause offence to others;
A member of the Staff Team deals with any incidents involving misuse of the internet. The incident is recorded.
All staff must accept the terms of the policy before using any Internet resource at church.
When copying materials from the web, copyright laws are respected.
. All official Priory Church new media use should normally be completed by 10 pm, particularly with regard to social networking, text messaging etc. All church staff are discouraged from accessing email, social networking, text messages etc on designated days off, and are expected not to reply to non-urgent messages on their designated day off or after 10pm.
4. Using E-Mail Facilities and Text Messaging
Email and Text Message use is essential in many aspects of life, and should be used responsibly. The following precautions should be followed at all times:
4.1 Treat email addresses as personal information, and hold them confidentially. Email addresses should not be passed on without consent.
4.2 When emailing children and teenagers, email should be sent from the worksoppriory.co.uk account wherever possible, and the sent email should not be deleted. Wherever possible, send email to more than one recipient, copying messages to firstname.lastname@example.org.
4.3 Text Messaging should be used wherever possible within the following guidelines:
Adults acting in a representative capacity should text to more than one recipient where possible when one or more of the recipients are under the age of 18.
Text messages sent or received by youth and children’s leaders should be kept and not treated as confidential – they should be shown to another leader before being deleted.
Youth and Children’s leaders should not normally reply to text messages received after 10 pm and/or on their designated day off.
5 Church Web Site
Priory Church has developed its own web site that contains information about the ethos and values of the church, the staff structure and other relevant information including recent newsletters, forthcoming events and content linked to recent events. The site is updated on a regular basis and the content is reviewed regularly to ensure that it is well presented and that personal security is not compromised. The church takes the following precautions to ensure the security of its members and visitors is maintained:
5.1 All materials published are monitored by those updating the website.
5.2 The web site contains names of individual members of staff and leaders with limited personal information.
5.3 Named photographs of young people are not published on the web site without written parental permission. Any group photographs do not have a name list attached.
Wherever possible, photographs with smaller images of children are used to minimize identification of individual children;
Checks are made that all people in photographs are appropriately clothed;
Parental permission is obtained for all children and teenagers whose photographs appear on the website.
The point of contact on the web site is the postal address, telephone number and e-mail address;
Social Networking and Personal Publishing
Parents and church leadership need to be aware that the Internet has emerging online spaces and social networks which allow individuals to publish unmediated content. Social networking sites can connect people with similar or even quite different interests. Guests can be invited to view personal spaces and leave comments, over which there may be limited control. For use by responsible individuals, social networking sites provide easy to use, free facilities; although often advertising intrudes and may be dubious in content. Congregation members should be encouraged to think about the ease of uploading personal information and the impossibility of removing an inappropriate photo or address once published. Examples include: blogs, wikis, MySpace, MSN, Facebook, forums, bulletin boards, multi-player online gaming, chatrooms, instant messenger and many others.
Priory Church acknowledges the increasing value of social networking and personal publishing by encourages all members to act responsibly to ensure safety, particularly when acting in a representative capacity. All members are advised to be cautious online regarding:
6.1 Posting photos and videos on any social network space.
Sharing personal information such as addresses, date of birth etc
Being identifiable through use of names, photographs and avatars.
Young people are advised to talk to a responsible adult if they suspect that a site is being used inappropriately;
Mobile phones provide access to many forms of new media, and should only be used appropriately. Group leaders have the right to restrict or prohibit the use of mobiles at their discretion.
Emerging Internet Applications
Many emerging communications technologies offer the potential to develop new teaching and learning tools. Mobile communications, wide Internet access and multimedia present opportunities which need to be evaluated to assess risks, to establish benefits and to develop good practice. As new technology emerges, we will review and update this policy as necessary.
ICT System Security
We will ensure that the office PC and church laptops are protected with anti-virus software and firewalls. As the network expands we will add suitable protection.
Data back up facilities will be available for safe back-up of office files.
At Priory Church, we recognize the importance of promoting E-safety and have a designated E-Safety Co-ordinator, who is also a member of the Church Leadership Team and/or Child Protection Team.
10.1 Key responsibilities of the E-Safety Co-ordinator include:
Developing an e-safe culture and acting as a named point of contact on all e-safety issues.
Promoting the Worksop Priory e-safety vision to all stakeholders
Ensuring that e-safety is embedded within CPD and co-ordinating training as appropriate
Maintaining an e-safety log
Monitoring and reporting on e-safety issues to the Leadership Team and other agencies
Reviewing and updating e-safety policies.