St Clement's Church Internet Safety Policy

Adopted for use by the Parish Council on February 27th, 2024

This policy covers the steps that shall be taken to promote the safety and security of the St. Clement's Church community; keeping clergy, staff and parishioners safe from dangerous or harmful online activity. This policy will contain procedure around Internet safety and reporting, as well instruction on providing clear and consistent communication through social media channels. This policy will equip the Ministry Team and volunteers with guidance on our approach to online safety.

The purpose of this policy is to protect staff, clergy, parishioners, especially children and young people, who are ministered to by St Clement's and who make use of information technology (the Internet) as part of their involvement with the parish. We aim to provide our staff, volunteers, and parents with the overarching principles that guide our approach to e-safety and to ensure that, as a Christian community, we minister in line with our values, and also within the law, in terms of how we use information technology and behave online. We will safeguard children, young people, and vulnerable adults when we are ministering on behalf of St. Clement's Church through the internet, social media, or mobile devices. 

This policy covers all clergy, staff, and volunteers and protects all parishioners, vendors, and accounts with whom the church has dealings.

Internet Safety 101

1. Keep Personal Information Professional and Limited
Strangers online don't need to know your personal relationship status or your home address or phone number. They do need to know about your expertise and professional background, and how to get in touch with you. You wouldn't hand purely personal information out to strangers individually—don't hand it out to millions of people online. 

2. Keep Your Privacy Settings On
Marketers love to know all about you, and so do hackers. Both can learn a lot from your browsing and social media usage. But you can take charge of your information. Major websites like Facebook have privacy-enhancing settings available. Make sure you have enabled these privacy safeguards and keep them enabled.

3. Practice Safe Browsing
You wouldn't choose to walk through a dangerous neighborhood—don't visit dangerous neighborhoods online. Cybercriminals use lurid content as bait or 'click bait'. They know people are sometimes tempted by dubious content and may let their guard down when searching for it. The Internet is filled with hard-to-see pitfalls, where one careless click could expose personal data or infect your device with malware. By resisting the urge, you don't even give the hackers a chance.

4. Be Careful What You Download
A top goal of cybercriminals is to trick you into downloading malware—programs or apps that carry malware or try to steal information. This malware can be disguised as an app: anything from a popular game to something that checks traffic or the weather. Don't download apps to your computer that look suspicious or come from a site you don't trust.

5. Choose Strong Passwords
Passwords are one of the biggest weak spots in the whole Internet security structure, but there's currently no way around them. And the problem with passwords is that people tend to choose easy ones to remember (such as "password" and "123456"), which are also easy for cyber thieves to guess. Select strong passwords that are harder for cybercriminals to demystify. Password manager software can help you to manage multiple passwords so that you don't forget them. A strong password is one that is unique and complex—at least 15 characters long, mixing letters, numbers and special characters. 

6.  Make Online Purchases From Secure Sites
Any time you make a purchase online, you need to provide credit card or bank account information—just what cybercriminals are most eager to get their hands on. Only supply this information to sites that provide secure, encrypted connections. You can identify secure sites by looking for an address that starts with https: (the S stands for secure) rather than simply http: They may also be marked by a padlock icon next to the address bar.

7. Be Careful What You Post
The Internet does not have a delete key. Any comment or image you post online may stay online forever because removing the original (say, from Twitter) does not remove any copies that other people made. There is no way for you to "take back" a remark you wish you hadn't made or get rid of that embarrassing selfie you took at a party. Don't put anything online that you wouldn't want your mom, church or a prospective employer to see.

8. Be Careful Who You Meet Online
People you meet online are not always who they claim to be. Indeed, they may not even be real. Fake social media profiles are a popular way for hackers to cozy up to unwary Web users and pick their cyber pockets. Be as cautious and sensible in your online social life as you are in your in-person social life. If you are asked for anything, especially money from somebody online, please report to a clergy member and cease engagement.  

9. Keep Your Antivirus Program Up To Date
Internet security software cannot protect against every threat, but it will detect and remove most malware—though you should make sure it's to date. Be sure to stay current with your operating system's updates and updates to applications you use. They provide a vital layer of security.

10. Report Any Suspicious Activity To A Member Of Clergy.
This includes requests for items or funds. People may befriend you for a year or more before they start asking you for a loan or money or free services. Always be safe and remember you can be 'friendly' but not 'familiar' with people you only meet online. When in doubt speak to a clergy member.

**Members of clergy or staff at St Clement's Church will never ask you for money, funds, services, or favours online or via text message or through social media channels such as Messenger. If you receive a suspicious email, text or message or just want to double check the accuracy, contact a member of clergy, and cease engagement with the suspected request.

Social media representation should at all times be handled carefully and responsibly in order to protect our clergy, staff, volunteers, congregants, and the image of our church in the community. The points below should be followed by all St Clement's social media 'posters' and users.

1. Be respectful, polite, and patient, when engaging in conversations on behalf of St Clement's Church. 
2. Avoid speaking on matters outside your field of expertise. Everyone should be careful not to answer questions or make statements that fall under somebody else’s responsibility. When in doubt ask a clergy member.
3. Follow our Internet Safety Policy and data protection policy and observe laws on copyright, trademarks, plagiarism, and fair use.
4. Never post discriminatory, offensive, or libelous content and commentary.
5. Correct or remove any misleading or false content as quickly as possible.
6. Refrain from posting unaltered children's faces. Youth and adult parishioners should be aware that their images may be used on social media platforms, and that they can request their images not be used, verbally or in writing to a member of clergy.
7. For consistency, it is suggested the St. Clement's anchor logo be used on St Clement's issued social media posts. Postings should be at least once per week, and follow the Liturgical calendar, and the tenets and authority of the Diocese of New Westminster. Posts should also include upcoming church (or community related) events where possible. When in doubt, ask a clergy member.

Should an unsafe Internet related incident or abuse occur through the use of the Church Internet or social media, clergy will support the needs of the victim, will respond timely and report appropriately.

Online Abuse is defined as:

Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the internet, facilitated through technology like computers, tablets, mobile phones and other internet-enabled devices. It can happen anywhere online that allows online digital communication. 

Children, young people, and vulnerable adults could experience online abuse including: 

I. Bullying/cyberbullying. 

II. Emotional abuse 

III. Financial exploitation 

IV. Scamming 

V. Sexting

VI. Sexual abuse 

VII. Sexual exploitation

VIII. Grooming and harassment 

For children, young people, and vulnerable adults, the impact and consequences can be significant. It creates fear and isolation. 

It is possible that children, young people, and vulnerable adults may not understand that they are being abused. We encourage open conversation and awareness raising, responding with care rather than shame when someone raises a question or account of online abuse.