The World Community for Christian Meditation in the USA expects its participants to demonstrate respect for duties and rights of parents and other conservators of minor children and youth with regard to written consent, privacy, and safety before making or using any images, recordings, or identifiers of those children and youth.
NOTE: The use of photos or recordings of any persons for fundraising purposes requires written consent/authorization
- Consider carefully whether the overall purpose could be served by some method other than display of minors.
- There must be written proof of parental consent in order for WCCM-USA to use anything identifying or depicting an individual under 18 years of age in connection with WCCM-USA-sponsored activities. The WCCM-USA MWC consent / authorization form must be used regardless of what other consents might have been obtained by other entities.
- Contact your local or regional WCCM coordinator to obtain the correct and updated consent forms. They can check with the WCCM-USA Meditation with Children (MWC) Coordination Group to insure latest versions.
- If you must make photographs, do so only after obtaining written consent using WCCM-USA Meditation with Children (MWC) consent forms. The consenter must be the minor’s legally authorized representative, not another relative or alternate caregiver.
- If you must make photographs of minors, include techniques likely to minimize likelihood of the subject(s) to be recognized (views from back or at an angle, faces shadowed or blurred, more than one child in the frame and viewed from a distance, etc.)
- Audio-recording and video-recording are discouraged unless by special clearance with the WCCM-USA Executive Committee prior to making the recording. State laws regarding audio recordings are different across the nation. Generally all parties must be aware of the recording as it is being made, and all parties must have consented. Additional legal issues pertain. Please contact the WCCM-USA E.C. through our dedicated Meditation with Children (MWC) email address if you have a special project for which you want audio- or video-recording. The Executive Committee will discern whether to make an exception.
- Publishing a child’s identifiers (including name, age, grade, specific location, parents’ names) even with parental permission is not a good practice because of recognized safety issues. Specifics about some event locations or where the minor lives or goes to school will need careful wording to minimize the chances of a specific child being located at a specific place and specific time (see wccm-usa.org/ MWC page for Essential Issue I – Safety).
- Due to child safety concerns, the WCCM-USA consent/authorization form contains specific and separate consent acknowledgement by the parent or guardian for publishing of photos or any level of identifiers of minors on the Internet.
- Notable exceptions to the above guidelines may occur when relying on teaching tools created in the past by educators outside of the USA for the purposes of promoting adults’ understanding of children’s spirituality. Most if not all of those products contain full-face close-up views of children in other parts of the world along with details of their ages, locations, and even some names. The beautiful photos and video recordings are powerful expressions of the children themselves and were produced when the world was not the place it is now regarding global information management. With the passage of time some of the risk factors for those particular children may have been mitigated sufficiently to allow continued careful use. All efforts should be made within the given limitations of the medium to eliminate risk factors prior to display of the product (block or remove identifiers as possible, etc.) Carefully consider the goals toward which these products could be most appropriately used in balance with the unalterable aspects of risk factors. Use and make available only such products as appear on the WCCM International website (www.wccm.org), webpages linked to the WCCM International website, or products published by Medio Media, the publishing arm of WCCM International.
Our country’s laws make it clear that parents and legal guardians have rights, duties, and responsibilities toward safety and protection of their children. Others in the society are expected to support them.
The world is changing extremely quickly through new technology and ever more creative uses of that technology. Best practices of any one period may not suffice for safety very soon afterward. We can anticipate only that there will be changes but not predict what they will be. Guidelines must reference human dignity and value.
In our WCCM-USA Meditation with Children (MWC) work with vulnerable populations we remember that we do not photograph or record activities with minor children and youth without first obtaining permission from the persons legally responsible for those young persons.
As noted above, there are also important permission aspects to the use of photos or recordings of anyone for fundraising purposes.
Key points to remember:
- An adult by showing up at a public event gives implicit consent for general-use photography.
- The Internet introduces additional concerns for privacy and safety regardless of where the items might have been posted or initially intended for use.
- Note that in the photo of a specific group (as opposed to a general attendance shot) all parties must consent in order for the photography to proceed. The consent must be unanimous. Even one person’s lack of consent will prevent the photo of that particular group.
- If the WCCM-USA Meditation with Children (MWC) event has no minors involved (only adults are present), photography consents are not needed as long as the photos will not be used for fundraising.