As children's ministries leaders and volunteers, child safety is one of our top priorities. And as a part of that we understand that the right to individual privacy is important.
So how do we go about navigating the world of Facebook? Especially with all the recent controversy that has surrounded the brand.
This is post one in a series on helping you as a volunteer or leader, navigate the use of Facebook for your ministry.
I can hear you saying "that's not a question I had even considered! I just share whenever I feel like it!" And sometimes that's fine - great even! And other times, not so much.
But if not then, when? How can we know when is a good time to share or post on Facebook?
Before we can really answer that question, we have to know why we are sharing - and where (see previous Facebook post).
To begin with, there is one very clear guideline:
Sharing photos of children at events? Don't. Unless they are your own children, or you have parental consent.
Beyond that, think about the context:
Are you wanting to ask a question or have discussion in a group? Unless you are wanting a very quick reply, post at your convenience. Many group members have settings such that they will be notified if someone posts in the group.
Are you wanting to share an event, notice or information on your page? This one takes a little more consideration. Because these posts will show up in someone's Timeline, you have to pick an appropriate time to post (and if it is regarding an event, or your information is time specific like "meet this afternoon..." - be sure to set a time limit on when the post can appear in people's newsfeeds!).
Some good times:
Morning or afternoon break times
Early afternoon (if you're wanting to reach parents of young children)
Early evening (but NOT dinnertime)
Some times to avoid:
Late afternoon - Early evening (when parents are often trying to organise dinner, baths and bed)
Sabbath morning, especially during the Church service!
After 8pm - especially on the weekend
Are you wanting to share on your personal Timeline? Go for it. Whenever suits you. It is your personal timeline. Note however, that wherever, whenever you are posting, as a volunteer in Children's Ministries, you have an influence. And it is our personal responsibility to ensure that the influence we have is a positive one that points to Jesus.
When posting to a Group or on your Personal Timeline, timing isn't of huge significance.
Posting to a Page requires some forward planning. Consider scheduling your posts for set times that are more likely to be seen by those who you want to see them - and be sure to time limit your posts if they are time sensitive.
ADDITIONAL NOTE ON CHILD SAFETY:
Where your ministry involves networking with the children (under 18 members) via Facebook - such as a Pathfinder Club - it is important that the same child safety rules apply online as they do in the 'real world':
Avoid having one adult alone with children in a closed space (think private messages and closed or secret groups); and
If a child is a part of a group or private message group, parents should be fully informed (and invited unless that defeats the legitimate purpose of the group).
HELPFUL RESOURCE: National Council of Churches in Australia - Electronic Communication Guidelines [PDF]