We are determined to ensure that all our churches are safe places for young and old alike to worship, play and learn together without fear of being harmed.
Our Circuit and each of our churches have Safeguarding Policies which are strictly observed in the life of our churches and regularly reviewed.
You can read the Circuit Safeguarding Policy here.
Since 2012 it has been mandatory for certain offices within Methodist Churches to be restricted to those who received formal Safeguarding Training. Post holders who have not received the necessary training will be obliged to resign their posts.
6 Quick tips to help keep children safe
Model healthy technology use. Children mimic the behavior they see around them. Be mindful of how and when you’re using your devices, especially now, when stress levels are running high. Try enacting some “screen-free time” consistently in a way that makes sense for your family, such as during dinner, two hours before bed, or for the first three hours every morning.
Find out more about the parental controls built in to the computers, gaming systems, phones and tablets in your home. You can use these to limit screen time, block inappropriate material and enforce guidelines around internet and technology use. Know the controls’ limits, too. They’re not fail-safe, but they are a good tool in your toolbox.
Supplement controls with conversations. Talk about privacy, respect and appropriate online behavior. Let children know that bullying is not allowed, and that if they’re being targeted online they should come to you. Teach them that what they put out on the internet or in a text can’t be taken back, so always take a minute (or five) to consider whether they’d be okay with their classmates, parents, and grandparents all reading or looking at what they’re about to post. (If not, a good rule is to keep it to themselves.) Make sure they understand that they can never truly know someone online, so they should never share their last name, school’s name, birth date or address, and they shouldn’t use any email that uses their last name or school’s name either. Some parents find it helpful to have a set of rules specific for internet and technology use that address things like amount of time spent online, allowable content and encourages conversations if their child finds concerning material.
Check-in with the children in your life. What’s their favourite thing to do on their gaming system, tablet or laptop? Have them show you what they enjoy doing, and be curious about their online interests. If you have a free hour, ask them how to play their favourite game and spend some time learning it with them – and making mistakes. Make sure they know that you’ll periodically look at their internet history and want to know about any new friends they make online. Ask them if they’ve seen anything confusing or inappropriate they want to check-in with you about, and don’t shame them for sharing something that made them feel uncomfortable.
Consider their developmental stage and how this affects the way the go online. If they’re 6 or under, likely they’re using the internet passively: watching a show or movie, or playing an educational game with a parent. Normalize technology use out in the open, keep devices in a common area, and periodically look at what your child is doing. However, older children have access to the internet, tablet or gaming systems in ways that are more independent, so they require additional discussions about how to navigate the complex world they encounter. Consider how a child’s strengths and limitations also may affect how they interact online: for example, children with low self-esteem may be more susceptible to people who are manipulative, so use what you know about the children in your life to talk about “what-if” situations.
Finally, make sure that all the caregivers who are looking after the children in your life know what the technology rules are, along with the family safety planning rules. Continuity for children and youth right now can create a sense of safety and ease. When expectations are clear and consistent across the board, that can make transitions easier for children as well.