Zoom - the virtual meeting platform
We recommend using Zoom, a video conferencing app that can either be accessed by website with a computer/laptop or downloaded on to a device, such as a phone/tablet.
Zoom is free, easy to use and the website is full of useful video tutorials to help you make the most of your online meetings. This platform has a number of advantages when gathering children and young people virtually. It supports a conversation with many participants, allowing your whole youth group to meet in one place. It also has a share screen feature available during the call makes sharing videos, passages and questions with your group very easy.
There is a free version of Zoom, which is best used from a computer. On the free version, you can only chat for 40 minutes, but you can restart the chat straight away. Alternatively we suggest that, as a church/youth leader, you sign up to pay the monthly fee to be a ‘host’ then all the participants (i.e. your whole youth group) can still join in chats for free. Anyone over the age of 16 can sign up to Zoom and download it to their device using the free option, which is what we recommend parents/guardians are asked to do.
Zoom’s advice around under 16s using the platform is: “Children under 16 cannot create a Zoom account. A parent or guardian may, however, permit the child to use that parent or guardian’s account with their supervision.”
As a leader, you schedule meetings and then invite participants via a link (for those under 16 the link must be sent to their parents/carers), which can be shared by text/email etc. It is advised that your group should meet at a regular set time – let everyone know when this will be.
IMPORTANT: Due to the increase in 'Zoombombing' it is vitally important that you only share the meeting invite link with the parents/young people in your group - and you must stress to them the importance of not sharing the link beyond the group. Read more here.