Zoom With Kids?

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Hello everyone! Since this coronavirus situation, each Sunday we watch our vicar's talk together in small groups using zoom. We also do a bit of discussion on the sermon's subject on Sunday and gather together for Bible studies and prayers mid-week, all via zoom. 

Families from the church film some kids' activity every week, which we also release on Sunday. Kids really miss each other and I am searching for ways to keep them in touch during this difficult times.

I was wondering if anyone tried kids zoom calls with engaging activities? I imagine it is quite hectic to have kids on a video chat, any ideas how to keep them involved? 

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Community Builder

Hi Lidia,

Although I haven't tried a zoom call with a kids only group, my church is meeting each week for worship with all ages and we are using zoom. Some of the things we're doing to engage with and include children are outlined in the posts COVID-19 and Including Kids in Online Worship (Part 1)  and (Part 2). Inside the Part 1 post you'll also find two links to excellent resources that other ministry leaders have provided for the families with children in their church; each includes ideas that might help as you plan an online gathering with children. 

A few other ideas:

I wonder if you might keep things simple---welcome kids, wave to each other (get those wiggles  just like we do before we do things in person together!), talk with them briefly and/or share with them a brief Bible story (with some wondering questions thrown in so they can reflect more deeply), and prayer (take requests! let them know how to signal they have a request to share or invite non-readers to have a parent enter their request into the chat box, older kids can enter requests themselves). 

I might also begin any planning by writing down the goal for meeting together via zoom. Is it to provide space for kids to see each other? To nurture faith? To share a Bible story? To reassure children that God loves them (and so do you!) All of the above? Or? Whatever your goal is will help you plan. 

Blessings to you as you continue to encourage the little ones in your context.

Participant

Be careful with Zoom, especially with children. We had a bad experiences this past weekend. We had a small meeting on Zoom, and somebody uninvited and unknown joined and ran pornographic content on their screen. And the hacker was even able to keep me from being able to boot them. The only think I could do was end the meeting for all participants.

Until Zoom plugs some of its security holes, I would very strongly caution against its use with children (or at all!).

Community Builder

That must have been awful, David. I'm hearing similar "zoom bombing" stories from churches. You're right, it's so important to ensure that any platform we are using is safe.  I've heard that the way to do that now with zoom is to require participants to enter a password prior to entering the online zoom gathering.  

Thank you for the reminder to be careful. 

Participant

Indeed it was. I spoke to a friend who is in IT security, and was given some tips for increased security. That being said, he did say that Zoom was easy to exploit for experienced hackers; and that until the exploits were corrected by Zoom, caution should be used. I would still not recommend any use with children.

Community Builder

Good to know. Thanks so much, David.

Hi there!

I love using zoom with the kids each week to do Bible classes from 2 years to 16 yrs. old -  to keep it short. Planning is essential if you only have the 40 min with your kids you want the time to be impactful. I start with a welcome a quick picture of the group worship, prayer requests, a fun engaging  activity that goes along with the lesson (find in your house...) an object lesson, a class memory verse and review questions. Visuals are key as well as allowing the kids to have the time to really answer/digest & internalize the material. Finally we end with "challenge of the week" it has been great. As far as safety concerns live media gets posts of a zoom code and they are emailed later on with code and password. If anyone wants to join that's not part of the congregation they get access to a different code then rerouted into the "real" class after a quick check. 

Hope this helps! 

Blessings!

Participant

Our church has been using Zoom now for 5 weeks, we have had no problems. I do suggest that you get professional help to set it up securely.