At its meeting on 26th January the Kirk Session approved guidelines covering the best practice approach to using Social Media where young people are involved.
The full text of the Guidelines can be found below. if required you can download a copy from the link at the bottom of the page
Stow Brae Kirk, Paisley – Church of Scotland
Guidelines on the use of social media in our work with children and young people
guidelines cover the best-practice approach to using social media where
young people are involved. It includes an outline of the risks and our
responsibilities to keep young people safe.
Most young people, if not all, have grown up with the internet and use social media on a daily basis.
Church must try to minimise the risk of content which is inappropriate
for children being posted on our sites, or of adults grooming children.
Those who lead or act as monitors on our social media sites
which are used by children, those associated with the Church and their
activities, will be required to join the PVG scheme. (Protection of
Vulnerable Groups) They will also be required to undertake the
safeguarding training for volunteers, which is provided by Presbytery.
Stow Brae Kirk and the Church of Scotland use social media as an
important communication channel, and we have a responsibility to keep
all of our members and volunteers safe. You also have a responsibility
to your own safety when working with young people.
Volunteers and staff - dos and don'ts
simple tips for volunteers and staff to consider when posting
information on social media channels that children and young people have
access to, or when communicating directly with children and young
people via the internet:
* Consider setting a Focus Group to have
more control over access and content. Emphasise the need for privacy
controls. Refer posts to monitors for approval before posting.
Keep the focus on Stow Brae Kirk activity - don't ask about the young
person's private life or share details about yours. Do not let children
post personal information.
* Don't use webcams, except where it's
part of the activity which has been approved by Session. Do not allow
children to use their mobile phones to record activities.
* Keep the tone of the post suitable for children - avoid 'adult' themes (such as getting drunk, dating).
* Don't post upsetting or distressing images.
Never make suggestive or flirtatious comments to children and young
people; never use phrases that could be misconstrued or have sexual
* Don't use racist, explicit, inflammatory or derogatory language.
Never arrange to meet with a child unless this is part of a Stow Brae
Church activity or event. The child’s parents or carers should have been
made aware of it, and have given consent for their child to take part.
Never post photographs of children on unofficial social media sites
even when a parental consent form has been signed. Be aware that photos
posted online can be saved and reused without your knowledge. Take steps
to lessen chances of this happening, perhaps by using a logo on them.
Tell your Safeguarding Coordinator if you suspect that a young person
is acting inappropriately towards you online - this might include
* Keep your social interactions public - don't use direct messaging or private conversations.
If you're an adult volunteer or staff member and a young person asks to
become “friends” with you online, DO NOT ACCEPT. There are risks (to
you both). How might the friendship be perceived by others? You must NOT
be a “friend” to a child online or ask them to “befriend” you.
* Remember that anything you post online can't be guaranteed to stay
private - it may remain online for many years, and could be seen by
anyone. Despite privacy settings, you should assume, because of the way
Facebook works, that it will become public.
* Warn the children
never to go alone to meet someone that they have met on the internet.
That person might not be who the child thinks it is.
Reporting online abuse
Talk to your Safeguarding Coordinator or, if you're a young person, to a
responsible adult, who MUST pass the information on to the Safeguarding
* If you're worried or upset about something you've
seen online, don't be afraid to report it to the Child Exploitation and
Online Protection Centre (CEOP) or the police: go to
* Many social sites have 'report abuse' buttons.
you're concerned for a child or young person's safety online * You
should treat this as a safeguarding issue: see the Safeguarding Young
People policy on the Church Notice Board.
* Record any evidence
or information relating to your concern and discuss this immediately
with your Safeguarding Coordinator. Forms are available on the
Safeguarding Noticeboard to assist you.
* If a young person
discloses a concern to you, listen without judgement and give
reassurance. Remember you must keep matters confidential but not secret.
Contact your Safeguarding Coordinator as soon as possible; she will
advise and support you.
If you're concerned about a colleague's online activity in relation to a child
Similarly, if you've got concerns about a colleague's behaviour towards
a child or young person online, contact your Safeguarding Coordinator
* Keep records - for example, screenshots of online
conversations, or notes on something you've heard. Use the form which
will be found on the Safeguarding Noticeboard to assist you
Remember that the priority is to ensure the safety of the child. You
should be mindful that the reputation of the Stow Brae Kirk and the
Church of Scotland could be severely damaged if action was not taken and
it subsequently emerged that the colleague’s behaviour towards the
child was abusive.
* Do not attempt to investigate or verify any
allegations yourself. Report it to the Safeguarding Coordinator who will
take the appropriate next steps. Remember that any such information
should be kept confidential. Do not discuss it with others.
Issued on behalf of Stow Brae Kirk Session. G. Allison. Session Clerk
The above guidance can be downloaded by clicking on the link below