Social media can be a powerful influence in the lives of those who use it. It can provide ways to express our faith in Jesus Christ and strengthen relationships. The Church encourages the use of social media so long as it supports the mission of the Church, improves relationships, and facilitates revelation among children of our Heavenly Father. Church members are encouraged to be examples of their faith at all times and in all places, including when participating in the global conversations available through social media.
Opportunities and Guidelines for Using Social Media
The following are suggestions for using social media in our personal lives:
- If you use social media, use it to enhance and deepen relationships and to express your faith and testimony in the Savior and the gospel.
- Through social media, you can find opportunities to befriend and follow those who may be struggling or less active in your wards and stakes.
- Strive to have your online presence reflect your values and standards. Connect to official Church sites, and share content from these sites that touches your heart and reflects your values.
- Be civil in your online interactions with others. Latter-day Saint teachings require members to treat others with respect, regardless of the situation.
- Express your personal witness of the restored gospel, as guided by the Spirit. Such messages should be personal; do not leave people with the impression that you speak for the Church, and do not form groups that give the impression that they officially represent or are sponsored by the Church.
- Always be an example of a follower of Christ in your interactions with others in social media. Your positive example can influence those with whom you associate. It’s wise to cease associating with those who consistently seek to drag others down and particularly those who post inappropriate material.
Use of Social Media in Church Callings
When used appropriately, social media can help Church members share the gospel, strengthen faith, and minister to the needs of others. Remember that electronic communication should not replace opportunities for in-person contact, such as interviews and stewardship reports.
Please refer to the “Personal Internet Use in Church Callings” section of Internet Usage Helps for Members, and apply the same considerations when using social media in your callings.
Avoid the Potential Dangers of Social Media
When using social media, it is important to understand the potential risks involved. Protect yourself and your family by learning about these risks.
In addition to the general Internet dangers outlined in Internet Usage Helps for Members, consider the following suggestions:
- Remember that social media is a public forum. Messages and posts are not private and should not be used to share confidential or delicate information.
- Strive to maintain open communication with family members regarding their use of social media. Spouses, parents, and children who participate in social media should all be “connected” and should be willing to allow family members to see anything they post, including images. Family members can support each other in maintaining their standards.
- Be aware of the security settings for social media sites you may use. Make sure they reflect your family standards for privacy on the Internet.
- Many social media sites have a high risk of “drive by” exposure to content that may not meet your family standards. Discuss as a family what you will do when you see advertisements and other links that do not meet your family standards.
- Exercise good judgment when posting to a social media site. There is no “delete” button on the Internet. Images and posts can remain for many years and can be detrimental when you are seeking employment or admission to college, as well as other occasions in which your public Internet record may be reviewed. Ensure that your communications align with your commitment to take upon yourself the name of the Savior.
- Some applications and games on social media sites can gain access to your personal information, which can be used to steal your money and your identity. Be careful of the data you store on your social media site, and be aware of the applications that have access to that data.
- Be aware of how much time you and your family spend on social media sites participating in activities such as playing games, posting meaningless updates, or holding inappropriate conversations. If you are not careful, it is easy to spend too much time on these sites, causing other important aspects of life to be ignored. If needed, consider setting time limits as part of your family's Internet usage standards. Be sure that you are not “damag[ing] authentic relationships by obsessing over contrived ones” (David A. Bednar, “Things as They Really Are,” Ensign, June 2010, 22).
Talk to your stake technology specialist for other suggestions and advice.