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The Church of England issues 10 commandments for using social media

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Move is intended to help Christians be aware of the dangers of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

What would Jesus do if he lived in the age of hot takes, selfies and humble brags? The Church of England wants to help Christians be, well, more Christian when in comes to their social media activity.  

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will unveil a set of principles pointing social media users to the straight and narrow path with the release of 10 “digital commandments” at a live-Facebook Q&A session today. 

The Archbishop said: “Social media has transformed the way we live our lives. As Christians, we are called to engage in a way which is shaped by the example of Jesus.

“As we respond to the call on each of us to be witnesses to Jesus Christ, I encourage all of us to consider how we live our lives as witnesses online. Each time we interact online we have the opportunity either to add to currents of cynicism and abuse or to choose instead to share light and grace,” he said according to a report in the New Zealand Herald.

“My prayer is that through these guidelines and charter we can encourage regular and not-so-regular churchgoers, skeptics and those who are surprised to find themselves interested, to be open to think and experience more of the Christian faith,” he said.

The New Zealand Herald reported that the 10 digital commandments are:

1. Don’t rush in

“Responding quickly doesn’t mean doing so without due consideration”

2. Transient yet permanent

“Social media updates are immediate and will outdate quickly BUT they can have a more lasting impact”

3. You’re an ambassador

“If talking about a church matter, make it clear that these are your personal opinions”

4. Don’t hide

“Anonymity and ‘hiding’ behind aliases when using social media is frowned upon”

5. Don’t blur private life boundaries

“There are risks associated with personal opinions being seen as public statements”

6. Be aware of safeguarding

“The informality that social media encourages can mean that it might be harder to maintain a professional distance”

7. Don’t share certain images

“Make sure you have permission from anybody who features in the image before sharing”

8. Stay within legal frameworks

“If you wouldn’t say something in a public meeting or to someone’s face – don’t say it online”

9. Keep confidences

“Remember: Is this story mine to share? If in doubt, don’t”

10. Be mindful of your security

“Don’t overshare personal information”

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