Child protection experts CCPAS (the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service), are urging churches to carry out audits, to ensure they are well placed to help young people exposed to internet dangers.
The call comes as part of ‘safer internet day’, a global initiative which this year is calling for adults to be aware of, and involved in their children’s internet use.
Iain Taylor, spokesman for CCPAS said: “We’re a Christian agency, and as such we’re coming at this very much from a church perspective.
“The theme of this year’s Safer Internet Day is ‘Connecting the generations’, and that is great, because as we all know, if a child or a young person comes across something on the internet that is upsetting or distressing in some way, they may not always want to talk to their parents about it.
“If they are part of a church, they may be able to talk to a youth leader, or another adult within the church, and that should be able to be done safely.”
In order to ensure that the proper safeguards are in place, CCPAS recommend that churches carry out a simple audit, asking themselves three questions which will help them take internet safety more seriously.
‘Does our church have a policy about workers communicating with children via social media, emails and texts?’
‘Does our anti-bullying policy (if one exists) include cyber bullying?’
‘Is e-safety covered in our child protection policy?’
If the answer to any of these questions is no, then the church immediately has a starting place to make improvements.
CCPAS is also urging churches to host ‘parents events’, where parents, grandparents, and young people can share ideas on how to make the web a safer place.
Simon Bass, CEO of CCPAS said: “Most churches now have child protection policies but do they address e-safety? If not, we hope these three questions will act as the catalyst that will spur them on to do so immediately. Children today live their lives online and much of their communication takes place through social media. It is clear therefore that churches cannot afford to ignore this any longer."
February 7th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross