Digital rooms and CARPETS
By Kelly Skilton
When we gather together we create opportunities for people to build connections. The digital world is no different, and there are an abundance of places people meet in.
For these digital “rooms” to be safe and welcoming we need to make sure they have good CARPETS.
Digital communities should be about creating opportunities for connection. These opportunities should:
• Encourage life-giving communications.
• Create findable networks of support and solace.
• Build a group of inclusion, belonging and trust.
Whether verbally, in-game or via text, all communications should encourage, create and build positive and healthy connections for the whole community.
Digital communities need to be accessible so people can participate equitably. Picking the right platform depends on who and how you are shaping your community. Some things to consider are:
• Is the platform age appropriate?
• Have people used the program before, or do you need to offer training for
• Are you findable or is it too confusing to get to?
• Does your community know how to use the technology needed?
Digital communities still require responsible leaders and boundaries. It is more than just having access to communications via technology; it is also about creating a safe place of belonging for people. Some steps for safety are:
• Leaders being Safe Church trained and having a Working with Children Check.
• A minimum of two leaders present at each gathering/ livestream.
• Shared guidelines that outline the kind of communication this community aims to foster. This includes possible time restrictions. It also includes age-appropriate accessibilities so those who are under 18, and who are vulnerable, are able to gather and converse safely.
• Communications are able to be stored securely.
• The community is only accessible by those who are a part of it, such as password protection or log-in sensitive. Some of these things may seem difficult, however, digital communities require these for safety and support.
Digital communities are about connecting with a purpose, not just about aimless communication. Your purpose for gathering also helps you to identify what platform you should be gathering in. Remember: What works for one community might not work for yours – focus on your community’s needs.
Digital communities are about enabling people to have greater connection and empowerment. A healthy community means helping people develop their confidence, character and connections. Creating an environment that focuses on ways to grow people’s self-worth helps us to create life-giving, healthy and safe communities for all people.
Digital communities in the church should enable opportunities of transformation. Christ is still present when we gather digitally – are we creating opportunities for people to experience and explore who God is?
Digital communities are about creating a space of belonging. People may be all over the world, however, we have the opportunity to give people a community that they might never have had access to otherwise.
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