Class Video Recordings

Principles of using video conferencing platforms with minors

This information will be updated if the evolving situation with COVID-19 requires changes.

With the rapidly changing environment we find ourselves due to COVID-19, we are aware that many ministries are moving their meetings online during these exceptional circumstances.

On this page, you will find principles for using video conferencing platforms with children and youth. Examples provided below are for Zoom online meetings. Where your platform differs, please apply the principles accordingly.

Definitions: In these principles, we define children as up to 12yrs and youth aged people as 13-17yrs.

You may also find these principles helpful to apply to adults Small Group meetings.

1. Video conferencing meetings should be run on church-owned accounts.

Two or more adult leaders authorised by the Pastoral, Leadership or Springwood Leadership Committee (SLC) should be present in meetings and should understand their role and responsibility. See for example: Zoom: Roles in a meeting

Authorised leaders should be provided Host privileges and login details to the church account to run a meeting.

The Host and Breakout group leaders should run the gathering from a computer (laptop or desktop) and not an iOS or Android device – this is because these devices cannot record meetings.

Meetings can be used for a Children’s Group or Youth Group.

2. Parents should be clearly informed of the meeting details prior to the event.

Ensure parents know:

  • the date and start/end time of the meeting,
  • the platform being used e.g. Zoom and how to access it (click here for tutorial),
  • the authorising leader and any leaders involved in the meeting,
  • the meeting will be recorded to the cloud.

Meetings must be authorised by the Pastoral Team, Elders, authorised leaders or SLC.

Access to meetings for children’s ministry should only be provided to parents and not be directed to the children themselves. Access to youth events may be directed to the young person where parent permission has been obtained.

Parents and participants should be informed of the protocols for the meeting e.g. dress code, respectful language, expectations of leaders and participants.

Private chat functions should be disabled.

Parents should also be informed of who to speak to (and their contact details) if there is a breach of the protocols.

3. Parental Consent Required.

Parental permission must be obtained before allowing children and young people to join a video conference meeting.

Parents should be required to remain for the duration of the meeting for any children’s groups e.g. participating with their child or remaining in the background of the video feed (this can be an acceptable form of permission from parents where written permission has not been obtained).

Parents should be informed if Breakout rooms will take place and the process for that i.e. adult leaders and a recording of the session. Parents can be invited to stay in the meeting but they would not be required to do that if for youth aged children.

4. A “Waiting Room” (or similar) should be used.

A Waiting room allows the leader to ensure only those with parental permission or those invited to the meeting enter the video conference.

A waiting room may also prevent one leader and one participant being alone in a meeting if they join early.

If the church is hosting multiple gatherings from the same account throughout the week, the Host should set a new password for each meeting.

Zoom: Waiting rooms

5. Video conference meetings should be recorded.

Any meetings held with children and youth aged participants should be recorded.

If you are recording a meeting, configure Settings – Recordings – Recording disclaimer.

Recordings (including any chat logs) should be kept for at least 3 months in secure cloud, church managed storage.

Zoom: Cloud Recording

6. The video conference should only allow the host to share screens.

This will prevent children and young people sharing inappropriate material.

Note that even though the overall Host of the main meeting can turn off screen sharing for the meeting, breakout group leaders will need to do that again for their meetings. It is strongly recommended to avoid possible inappropriate material being displayed in the breakout groups.

Zoom: Sharing your screen

7. “Breakout rooms” (or similar) can be used within a scheduled meeting

Where possible, two or more adult leaders should be present in a Breakout room.

Breakout rooms must be recorded (recordings must be stored as indicated above).

The meeting host should not be a Breakout room leader (where possible) but should check in on groups while they are running and manage the time they return to the main group.

Note that even though the overall Host of the main meeting can turn off screen sharing for the meeting, breakout group leaders will need to do that again for their meetings. It is strongly recommended to avoid possible inappropriate material being displayed in the breakout groups.

Zoom: Managing Breakout Rooms

8. Miscellaneous tips and info

Disabling renaming of participants.

Not so much a security or AdSafe ministry concern as a useful tip to avoid mischievous young people renaming themselves: Hosts can turn off the ability of participants to rename their window. That is done under ‘Manage Participants’ once the meeting is underway.

Virtual Backgrounds.

Note that a Host has no control over participants using their virtual background setting. To avoid inappropriate material being displayed (intentionally or not), we suggest that participants be asked to agree to not using that feature during youth/children’s meetings