Social Media Policy

Dundee United Methodist Church
 Social Media Policy - Made By Joan Wittkop

Social Media and Electronic Communication Policy, Adopted 10/09/2018

It is important for our church to stay in contact digitally in today’s connected world. With the increased use of computers, smartphones, and other internet connected devices, it is imperative that Dundee United Methodist Church (DUMC) create guidelines in order to help minimize the risks that follow the use of current technology platforms. For that reason, the below guidelines are recommended to ensure the safety of our congregation, when interacting with the children, youth and vulnerable adults that worship at or visit DUMC.


Unrelated adult-at least two adult individuals who are not residing in the same household and who are not related by marriage or other familial ties.

Relationship with DUMC- An Adult Mentor or Leader, Pastor, Youth Group Leader, Lay Person, or Parent within the DUMC community.

Child-a person 17 years of age or younger.

Youth-a person 12 – 17 years of age.

Vulnerable adult-an individual who because of age, developmental disability, mental illness, or physical handicap requires supervision or personal care or lacks the personal and social skills required to live independently.

Receive Parental/Guardian Permission

It is advised to receive parental permission for children and youth, and personal permission for vulnerable adults in writing for:

  1. Posting photos of participants on any websites or sending them e-mail or cell phone messages or making videos for any use;

2. E-mailing, Instant Messaging, calling, texting, or sending data to a child, youth, or vulnerable adult by any electronic means.

A yearly blanket permission can be obtained for all related events. For example, one permission can be used for the entire year’s Sunday School or Youth Group related activities.

Limit individual communications with children, youth, and vulnerable adults.
  1. Conduct any communications in a professional manner. (Even though you may be a sounding board for a person having a bad day, the reverse is not true.)

2. Always add in a second unrelated adult that has a relationship with DUMC to the conversation. If this is not possible, ask to continue the conversation in a public space.

Oct 2018

  3. Do not use communication tools that auto delete (ie Snapchat). Save all confidential cybercommunications you have with children, youth, and vulnerable adults (i.e., instant messages (IM's) chat room conversations, emails, etc.) so that an electronic paper trail can be created should the need arise.

Safety Measures for Sharing Photos Electronically

  1. ALWAYS obtain permission to use photos.

2. When posting photos, refrain from using names and never use last names or identifiable information.

3. Do not geotag (add geographical identification data) the post.

4. Check photos for vulnerable/compromising situations, or even those that could be misconstrued as such, and make sure they uphold the mission of our church.

General Safety Measures for Using Personal Social Networking Sites-with connections to children, youth and vulnerable adults

Note: Because using social media is an important communication tool in today’s society, it is important that we set boundaries on personal pages due to the ability for an adult from the church to tag or otherwise interact with a child, youth or vulnerable adult. Though we don’t promote the use of all of the below social media sites as a church body, it is inevitable that adult leaders will use such sites and they will interact with the children, youth and vulnerable adults in our church. For that reason, it is important to have safety guidelines in place for said interactions.

  1. Set privacy settings to limit who can see your profile. Limiting your profile to settings that only include “friends” rather than “friends of friends” or other such settings helps keep extended networks from viewing photos that you and child, youth, or vulnerable adult are both tagged in.

2. Don’t friend, ask to follow, or connect with a child youth or vulnerable adult first. Minors may feel like they are not able to decline such requests due to the disparity of power between them and adults. Exceptions to this rule should only be made in situations when the adult’s privacy settings make it difficult or impossible for the youth to find the adult’s page on the site. In these circumstances, it is acceptable for an adult to request a youth as a friend, if the youth has requested that they do so.

3. Do not post anything to your social networking site that you would not want attached to your resume or printed in the church bulletin or newsletter. Remove or do not post inappropriate comments, photos, etc.

4. Do not tag ANY children, youth or vulnerable adults.

5. Do not use last names.

6. Do not geotag.

7. If you do not wish or are unable to restrict privacy settings on your account, consider creating a second account just for interacting with children, youth or vulnerable adults OR do not allow them to friend or follow you.

8. There will be a zero-tolerance policy for cyberbullying regardless of age.

Oct 2018

Safety Measures for Using Specific Social Networking Sites-including Personal Accounts-with connections to children, youth and vulnerable adults


  1. When using Facebook messenger, include 1 unrelated adult that has a relationship with the church.

2. When creating “Groups”, the settings should be “Closed” so that a person must request to join.

  a. Church membership is not required to be in a DUMC group, but the person should have a reason to be in the group to be accepted.

  i. Examples-community members can be in the DUMC main discussion group, but members of the DUMC UMYF group should have a relationship with the youth group. This is loosely defined either as a relative of a youth or a leader in the church.


  1. If using the direct message feature, include 1 unrelated adult that has a relationship with the church.

Snapchat (or any other app that autodeletes messages)

  1. Adult leaders shall not use Snapchat or any other app that autodeletes messages, to communicate in any way with children, youth and vulnerable adults regardless of whether a second adult is present.


  1. Do not use the ‘add location’ option for photos that include a child, youth or vulnerable adult.

Church Maintained Social Media and Websites

  1. Use of pages, groups, or accounts that represent DUMC must have prior approval by the Administrative board before being created.

2. There are to be at least 2 unrelated adults that are admins (or have log in capabilities) for the platform, website, page or group. Those admins are to be approved by the Administrative board.

Current DUMC Social Media Accounts and Website

Official Website:

Facebook Page:

Facebook Groups:

  DUMC Main Discussion Group:


DundeeUMCYouth/ DUMC Jr UMYF Group:

Oct 2018


Administrators of all DUMC Social Media sites are:


Andrea Hickey

Kristen Olsen

Joan Wittkop

In addition to the above, current leaders of the UMYF and Jr UMYF will be administrators for their respected groups.

Oct 2018

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