Purpose, Objectives & Scope
Trinity Rawdon recognises that situations can occur where the use of electronic communication can be harmful or upsetting for other members of the Church or the wider community.
Trinity Rawdon is committed to using electronic communications responsibly and safely and encourages all members to do the same.
This policy includes guidelines of how Electronic Communication can be used responsibly and safely in order to protect its members, young people and the wider community. In implementing the policy, Trinity Rawdon is committed to ensuring that the following underpinning principles are adhered to:
■ members of Trinity Rawdon use Electronic Communication responsibly.
■ Guidelines are available to ensure members are aware of good practice when using Electronic Communication.
■ Complaints about poor use of electronic communication are handled sensitively and appropriate confidentiality is maintained.
■ Appropriate Wi-Fi controls are in place and adhered to
The Electronic Communication policy applies to all employees and members of Trinity Rawdon.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES TO APPLY ARE:
• Be credible. Be accurate, fair, thorough and transparent.
• Be consistent. Encourage constructive criticism and deliberation.
• Be cordial, honest and professional at all times. Be responsive. When you gain insight, share it where appropriate.
• Be integrated. Wherever possible, align online participation with other communications.
• Be a good representative of the Church. Remember that you are an ambassador for Christ, the Church and your part of it. Disclose your position as a member or officer of the Church, making it clear when speaking personally.
• Be respectful: respect confidentiality. Respect the views of others even where you disagree.
• Participate online in the same way as you would with other public forums. You take responsibility for the things you do, say or write.
• Never share personal details like home address and phone numbers except with someone you know and trust, and if you decide to do so then use a private message. Be aware an address can be disclosed in many ways for example via photos or a GPS position as well as in written form.
• Always remember that participating online results in your comments being permanently available and open to being republished in other media. Once something is posted to a blog or other internet site, it should be assumed to be still available even if it is later deleted from the original site.
• Stay within the legal framework and be aware that safeguarding, libel, slander, copyright and data protection laws apply, as well as the Disciplinary Practices of the Denominational Church.
• Consider confidentiality when relating information.
• Be aware that this may attract media interest in you as an individual, so proceed with care whether you are participating in an official or a personal capacity. If you have any doubts, take advice, but remember that you are responsible for your online activities.
Trinity Rawdon uses Wi-Fi within its buildings. This service is provided and paid for by Church members.
Wi-Fi access is available for Church members only and should be restricted to Church activity or occasional appropriate and reasonable personal use. In particular excessive streaming or downloading of music, games, films etc. is not permitted unless authorised for legitimate Church activities.
Trinity Leadership Team are responsible for activity on the premises and cannot accept the responsibility of inappropriate use (both financial or illegal) of the Trinity network as these actions are beyond their control. For this reason no one outside the Church family should be given the Wi-Fi passcode.
Secure passcodes will be created. These will be stored in a protected location, changed at least every 6 months and only communicated in line with this policy.
GENERAL EMAILING GUIDANCE
• Follow any associated information classification and handling policy
• Check that you are sending to the correct address and only to authorised individuals
• Use BCC for multiple recipients, especially where individuals at not likely to know each other
• Have an individual, personal email address which only you or your service provider can access
ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Electronic communication has become enormously important and popular. It is an easy way to
communicate with young people in particular. However, there are dangers associated with
electronic communication that call for vigilance:
• electronic communication is often an extremely informal mode of communication which can create the potential for communication to be misunderstood
• because of the informal style of electronic communication workers can easily cross appropriate boundaries in their relationships with young people
• some adults who are intent on harming children and young people choose to use electronic communication as a way to meet and ‘groom’ children.
These guidelines are written to try to maintain healthy and safe relationships between adults
• Electronic communication must never become a substitute for face to face contact with young people.
• parents or carers and children and young people themselves have the right to decide if a worker is to have email addresses or mobile phone numbers etc
• workers should only use electronic means of communication with those children and young people from whom appropriate consent has been given.
• direct electronic communication with children of primary school age is inappropriate and should be avoided
• only workers who have been appointed under the Church’s agreed procedures should
use any electronic means of communication to contact children or young people on behalf of the Church or one of the Church’s organisations
• contact with children and young people by electronic communication should generally be for information-giving purposes only and not for general chatter
• Adults should not normally make ‘friend requests’ of young people
• Adults should not say yes to a young person when a friend request is received
• workers should not share any personal information with children and young people, and should not request or respond to any personal information from the child or young person other than that which is necessary and appropriate as part of their role
• workers should be careful in their communications with children and young people so as to avoid any possible misinterpretation of their motives, clear, unambiguous language should be used and the use of unnecessary abbreviations should be avoided
• electronic communication should only be used between the hours of 8.00am and 10.00pm
• Official Church e-mails to young people should be sent out with a Trinity Rawdon header and/or footer indicating to the young people that this is an official communication.
• It is the adult’s responsibility to ensure that all of the content on their site is appropriate for young people to see (including contents of photos uploaded)
• All communication with young people should be kept within public domains
• All communications with young people should be transparent and open to scrutiny
• Any photos or video taken on personal mobile phones should not be uploaded to social networking sites without parental permission
• workers should not retain images of children and young people on their mobile phone.
• No-one under 13 years should be signed onto your account as a friend as it is facebook policy that 13 years is the appropriate age to hold an account.
• In signing young people to your account consider whether you are solely in a leadership role and therefore should not or whether in a more mixed role, e.g family friend
and may proceed with caution.
• Beware of instant chat which has both advantages and disadvantages.
OTHER WEB COMMUNICATION SERVICES
Although Facebook specific details have been included above it is impossible for Trinity Rawdon to keep abreast of ever changing environments and individual service and site rules. Individuals using other web services must ensure they use relevant good practices and the same
practices as advices by Facebook should be adhered to. This includes, but is not exclusive to,
Twitter, instagram, snapchat, tumbler etc.
INSTANT MESSAGING SERVICES (IMS)
• the use of instant messenger services should be kept to a minimum.
• where a young person in need or at a point of crisis uses this as a way of communicating with a worker:
-significant conversations should be saved as a text file if possible, and
-a log kept of who and when they communicated.
This Policy and Procedure is authorised by Trinity Rawdon Leadership Team.
Approval and Version Control
Status: Approved 01.06.16
By: Trinity Rawdon Leadership Team
P Lambert Trinity Rawdon Administrator
Version Review Date: 14/05/2022