Electronic Media Policy for Computers, Social Networks, Email and Internet Use

Electronic Media Policy for Computers, Social Networks, Email and Internet Use

In recent weeks I have received multiple requests like the following…

“Do you have an Electronic/E-Mail/Internet policy that could be used by churches.
I am on the newly formed Personnel Committee and have been given the task of coming up with a policy.  We have computers in various locations as well as laptops and tablets that are used by staff and church members at times.  We have no problem, just want to protect our staff and the church.”

Unfortunately, there is not a boiler plate policy template that would do much good because every church, ministry, non-profit or business has its own unique set of circumstances. With that said, I can offer some advice and examples to get you started in developing your own policy(s) that will suit the specific needs of your organization.

What Should Be Covered in an Electronic Media Policy?
Basically, you are defining who will use your resources and what permissions they have while using them. Start by doing an inventory of how electronic media resources are currently being used. Do you provide computers? Internet connectivity via cable or Wi-Fi? If so, then you need a policy that instructs the users as to the intended use and limitations. This policy should cover any of the following provided by your organization: Use of computers (i.e. – desktops, laptops, tablets, phones), internet connectivity, log-ins, guest networks, email and social networks. Include anything related to electronic media that ultimately is owned or used by the organization’s employees or guests.

Which is Better, One Policy or Separate Policies?
If your organization is small, with limited staff, resources, and electronic media use, then one policy could easily cover all aspects. On the other hand, a large organization may need to separate out policy areas to better focus on each topic. For example, you may have a connectivity policy, email policy and social networking policy. Ultimately it’s about what is the right solution based on the specifics of the particular organization.

How Do You Present the Policy Once It Has Been Approved?
For staff/employees you should have a meeting to review the policy(s) which then become a part of the employee handbook or manual. For visitors/guests you can set-up the electronic media to present the policy. If a guest connects to your Wi-Fi network or uses a computer, have a splash screen that presents the policy and asks them to agree before moving on. Much like the experience of loading new software or an app.

Are There Any Good Examples of Electronic Media Policies?
Yes, there are. A quick search using your favorite search engine will provide more than you have time to read. To save you some researching let me share three of my favorites:

1. Overview of what is needed for a church internet policy:
http://www.elexio.com/Blog/need-a-church-internet-use-policy-heres-what-it-should-cover/

2. Actual social media policies of different church organizations:
http://justinwise.net/social-media-policies-churches-ministries/

3. Power Point presentation from Church Mutual with good points to consider:
https://www.churchmutual.com/media/safetyResources/files/SocialMediaBestPracticesWebinarSlides.pdf

I trust you will find these resources helpful. Now, do you already have a policy(s) in place? If so, what are some good points you could share from your experience? Please comment below…

 

2 Responses to “ “Electronic Media Policy for Computers, Social Networks, Email and Internet Use”

  1. Gail Boyd says:

    Thank you so much. This information is very helpful.

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