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Stay Safe and Savvy on Facebook

Dwayne Riner

Facebook is a great place for a children's minister to connect personally with volunteers, parents, and other church members. It gives people a window into your personal life. However, never forget that you're still a public figure and must tread the line carefully between being open and over-sharing. These 10 guidelines will help you become a savvy-but safe-public figure on Facebook.

  1. Understand Facebook's privacy settings. The default settings aren't always set to the most secure options; spend time reviewing yours so you know who's able to access your information and images.
  2. Consider everything as public information. People can share your status or even capture a screenshot, so every post you make must be suitable for anyone to read-including kids you're ministering to.
  3. Be careful about sharing posts that appear on your feed. When you share pictures or e-cards, you also share the name of the group or person who originated them, which may contain vulgar and offensive language. 
  4. Watch your photos for spam or malicious tagging. Change your Facebook settings to notify you any time you're tagged in an image, and investigate every tag to ensure it meets your public guidelines.
  5. Be careful about services such as Spotify and Pandora. Many times these apps will post your listening activity-you may enjoy 80's heavy metal, but you might not want everyone to know when you're rocking to Van Halen.
  6. Stay away from politics. Yes, you have freedom of speech. No, that doesn't mean you should exercise it when you have a strong political opinion.
  7. Never discuss "backstage" issues. Don't touch on or allude to internal church discussions on Facebook or any social platform unless directed by senior leadership.
  8. Don't bash other ministries, denominations, or churches--local or national. You may disagree with a church's philosophy of ministry, but refrain from public ridicule-it's inappropriate and others may perceive that you speak for your pastor.
  9. If you run a personal Facebook page and your ministry's Facebook page, always double-check which account you're in when posting. All your posts must be above board, but double-checking yourself will prevent an "oops" post. Since Facebook gives you the option to act as your page, watch your likes, comments, and posts looking as if they're coming from your church.
  10. Conform to your church's social media policy-always. If your church doesn't have one, consider spearheading the initiative.
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