How Do I Ensure Privacy and Security in Digital Ministry?

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When dealing with any online community, it’s important to make sure that your privacy and security are protected. I wish digital ministry communities were different, but they aren’t. In fact, being a part of a digital faith community can make you an even bigger target because scammers know that our guard is down in those spaces. So, in an effort to help keep y’all safe, here are some simple steps you can take to ensure your privacy and safety while still deepening your connection with your digital faith community:

Secure your devices and networks:
Make sure to use devices like laptops or smartphones that are password-protected and kept up-to-date. When you’re online, stick to secure networks that use encryption to keep your data safe.

Watch what you share:
Be careful about the personal information you share online, like your full name, address, and financial details. Consider using a pseudonym or alias to keep your identity private. While my Facebook profile is pretty much out there for people to see, I am careful about who I allow into the deeper circles of my digital space. Over at Checkpoint Church, I go by a pseudonym and only the LVL2 leadership knows my real name.

Implement a Digital Safe Sanctuary Policy:
While encrypted text apps like WhatsApp and video chat platforms like Zoom offer increased encryption to keep you safer, nothing will match the potential safety of a faith community that puts into place policies that spell out the kinds of communication that are appropriate for their spaces. Even with encryption, it is safe to assume that once you hit send, everything is still out there somewhere. So, policies that might make you think twice about how you communicate are always going to be a best first option.

Keep your software updated:
Regularly update the software and systems you use to stay protected against the latest security threats. If you’re like me, you set everything to auto-update. While this can be a pain should an update break a piece of software you use, I promise that is less of a headache that dealing with identity theft.

Stay informed:
Stay up-to-date on privacy and security best practices, and be aware of potential dangers like phishing scams and malware. You’ll be glad you gave it a few minutes of your time. My community has recently been dealing with scammers trying to convince them that I require electronic gift cards. Because I was aware of the scam, I was able to put the word out. More importantly, because my people were in the know, they were able to sniff it out fast.

By taking these steps, you’ll be able to protect yourself and others while participating in your digital faith community. And if you’re still worried, why not reach out to the church leaders and ask about the steps they’ve taken to ensure privacy and security for everyone involved?

Stay safe out there, y’all!


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