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Hoverers at home – the new safeguarding partners

Many of us have now become Zoom experts over the last few months and that experience looks set to continue after a brief late summer hope that it would all be over by Christmas. We may not have mastered all the options of chat and waiting rooms, but we are probably familiar with an emerging etiquette of camera switch off and microphone muting.

The Church has endeavoured to make sure that Zoom engagement is safe and secure and has published extensive guidance about how to achieve this. Safeguarders at all levels in our church life should be aware of how to access this information and the key Church guidance is available here:

The current hot topic is how best to enable the safe (and legal) involvement of children and young people signing up for 3Generate, who at this time might have been looking forward to a live face to face event in Birmingham next month. This has led to careful scrutiny of the small print in the terms and conditions of Zoom that relate to the minimum age for accounts and expected levels of parental supervision. Getting the balance right between too much or too little oversight to achieve ‘judicious hovering’ will be a challenge. If your own children or a group from your church are planning to ‘attend’ there will be advice and guidance available so do read with care.

It’s always been the case that parents rightly require re-assurance that all due care and attention has been paid to planning children’s and young people’s events, that comprehensive risk assessments have taken place and that there are adequate contingency plans in place in case of a critical incident. What’s somewhat different this time around is that whilst 3Generate organisers can take all the necessary safeguarding procedures and issue advice and guidance, parents can probably no longer plan a quiet weekend for themselves with their offspring safely away. Keeping an eye on the bedroom or wherever the online interaction is to take place means that parents are now very much part of the safeguarding team.

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