GBM acknowledges the popularity, opportunities and hazards of the internet and social networking sites as a common form of communication and information gathering today. Inevitably, information technology and social media have an increasingly significant part to play in GBM life. GBM volunteers are in a position of trust among children and young people and the relational approach to our work means that we have contact with young people on a GBM evening and, at times, beyond. GBM is committed to modelling and practicing positive relationships and communications that value, nurture and protect children and young people through open, accountable and safe practices and in a way that reflects our Christian ethos.
Although it’s GBM’s practice not to make one-on-one connections with young people through social media it’s acknowledged that this is a useful communication tool. It’s expected that each group will find its own way of using social media to communicate within the law and in a way that is a positive, safe experience for all members of the GBM group.
The following guidelines relate to the use of Facebook and are made, therefore, to ensure safe practice.
GBM expects that leaders and young people involved in GBM communicate on Facebook via a corporate account, not through personal, individual accounts. This can be achieved by applying the following principles:
- Set up a group/district group Facebook account to make connections with young people (under 18s) thus avoiding inappropriate one-to-one interactions through private social media/Facebook accounts
- Apply a ‘closed’ or ‘secret’ group setting when you set up and maintain your group. This will keep all content outside the public domain
- Ensure that one (or more) trained volunteers (18+) act/s as administrator/s for the GBM Facebook group taking responsibility for approving new members to the group
- Post all information – news, events, information and reminders on the wall, thus avoiding inappropriate one-to-one private/inbox messages
- Keep up-to-date with Facebook/social media policies e.g. age, privacy settings etc., noting that at present Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat require all users to be over the age of 13 years
- The administrator should be responsible for the addition of photographs (following our guidelines for good practice) and additionally ensuring that no picture is ‘tagged’ or used as a personal profile picture
- Be aware that even though volunteers’ private social media accounts are not used for one-to-one connection with GBM members, they may be open to public view. Ensure that what is seen or read reflects the values and ethos that volunteers in GBM profess
- To engage the group in good practice, involve the young people in creating a positive code of conduct relating to behaviour, purpose, management, setting, monitoring and use of the site.
More information regarding the use of information technology, photographs, and mobile phones can be found in the policy below.Download resource