A place to Connect, Grow, and Serve
What to Consider Before Giving Permission for Your Kids to be on This Site
Dear Families of Our Beloved Community:
We value the voices and contributions that our children and youth bring to the church. We want to encourage and nurture their participation here.
We're going to go slowly, however, in bringing them in as registered users. The process will require parental consent for children under the age of 13 before they are allowed to sign in. And we're considering requiring all parents of kids under age 18 and the kids, themselves, to go through an introductory how-to session that will clearly explain the ins and outs of what is public and what is private on this site. When we are ready to do these sessions and to accept parental consent we will notify you on this site, through email and through our religious education department.
It's also important for you to have a little time to experience the site for yourselves to understand the experience.
We've adopted aspects of social networking for our new home because we believe it will energize our efforts to create a relational church culture. Many of the kids, of course, know what social networking is because of Facebook, My Space, YouTube and other sites. Even the young ones have some sense of social networking because they're aware of sites such as Club Penguin, which is only for them.
Many of you are experienced social network users. And yet, many of you are not. For some, this site may even be your introduction to it.
Our online church home is not Facebook or My Space. When we're on this site we are in the church. We have a specific purpose for gathering here: to strengthen our spirituality and religious values. We've adapted social technology to these needs. The best etiquette here is: If you wouldn't say it or do it in church, don't here as well.
The kids are likely to assume that what they see on this site functions the same way as it does Facebook. In some ways it does, in very important other ways it doesn't.
Please learn how to use the site's privacy controls to protect your kids from their assumptions. In particular, make sure you know what appears in the Latest Activity box on the Main page. It is like a news feed. The information in it reports what individuals are doing on the site. It notifies everyone when new comments have been added to a blog, when new photos and videos are posted and other activities are also reported in there. The names of the individuals who posted the items appear with the items. And if those individuals are using a photograph to visually identify themselves on the site, the photo icon of them will appear with these postings in the Latest Activity box. The privacy controls in your childrens' accounts can be set so that their activities do not show up in this box, meaning their names and pictures won't be shown. If a choice is made to not use a photograph to represent your children, you simply do not upload one, leave the input cell for uploading a photo blank. We automatically supply a chalice icon to represent individuals who don't want a photo icon to represent them anywhere on the site. There is one other chalice icon used now on the site and it represents the Site Administrator. Click it to see the Administrator's page, which has more helpful information. You can send questions to the Administrator from that page as well.
There's more you need to know in order to make informed decisions:
I want my child to participate but also to keep his or her identity out of the public eye: To accomplish this do the following:
1. Let the default black and gold chalice icon represent them on the site. Don't upload a picture of them for it. The default chalice icon will automatically appear with their names.
2. Use one name and one initial to identify them to other registered users. E.g. June H. or J. Herold
3. On the My Settings>>>Privacy page, make sure that none of the boxes are checked in the section on the Latest Activity box at the bottom of the page. Review all of the other settings on this "My Settings" page, and make choices accordingly.
The most conservative option: Have your children use the same sign in keys, or credentials, that you do and keep the default black and gold chalice icon. If you all share the same account, you will also know what activities your children engaged in because they will be available for your viewing in the "My Page feature." If you use one account, rename it with your last name and the word "Family." Eg: Herold Family.
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