Guidelines for Digital Communications with Youth

In the virtual world, as in the physical world, St. Paul’s observes healthy boundaries and safe church practices.

The primary purpose of social media communication by the church aimed at youth is for providing information related to a ministry or event and not for one-on-one interaction between staff members and youths.

Because of fundamental power inequalities, adult clergy and lay staff should not submit “friend” requests to youth.

Youth sending friend requests to adult clergy and lay staff’s personal accounts may, at the discretion of the staff member, be directed to the Youth Ministry page. If a staff member chooses to accept a friend request from a minor, he or she will search the social media site for the youth’s parents’ profiles and issue friend requests to them.

When communicating with youth via social media, there must be at least two adults with administrative rights for each account used for ministry communication.

Social networking groups for youth should be open to parents of current members.

Social media and other electronic communication may not be used to communicate with children who have not reached the ninth grade, but instead should be directed to their parents.