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  • Internet policy.

    The topic of scouts friending adult leaders came up in a different thread. I feel like the topic deserves it's own thread. Does your troop have any sort of rules governing scouts friending adult leaders on social networking sites? Where does YP tie into this? What's your opinion? Does your unit use social media? Who runs it? Interested to hear what everybody's thoughts are. Sentinel947

  • #2
    Good topic...Personally I don't and wouldn't friend a scout directly. I friend their parents, mostly so they can see the pictures I post of Scout activities so they can see their Scout in action. A better option is to have a group page for these things, or a Shutterfly account or the like.

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    • #3
      Our troop has a FB page. Since FB requires account holders and anyone using FB be 13+ years old, those under 13 would be lying if they use or have an account. We remind them a scout is trustworthy. For those over 13, I am not "friends" with them. Any interaction on FB can be done via the troop page in full view of everyone. I suppose that is the online version of no one on one contact.

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      • #4
        I don't send friend requests to scouts (because I'm in a position of authority and I feel that could make a scout feel like he has no choice in accepting) but if a scout sends me a request I'll accept it.

        Originally posted by DuctTape View Post
        I suppose that is the online version of no one on one contact.
        Except not, since interactions on FB are public, except for private/instant messages which are no different than a phone call.

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        • DuctTape
          DuctTape commented
          Editing a comment
          I wasnt clear. By not being friends and only posting interactions on the troop page in public view, no one on one digital contact occurs.

      • #5
        If a boy asks to be my friend, I am not going to decline that request without a really compelling reason. That said, if I AM anyone's friend on, say, Facebook, they'll be lucky to hear from me once or twice a year. I suck at so-called social media.

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        • #6
          I accept friend requests from any and all youth in my children's circles (scouts, youth group, etc ...)
          I strongly encourage any scouter to do so, if they can spare the time for such things.

          Youth are hungry for a leader who will reply to their impertinent comments with responses like "First, don't cuss. Second, <insert your clever, yet appropriate advice here>."

          Who knows, maybe you need a youth to reply to your impertinent comments with noble and personally challenging responses too!

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          • #7
            I don't know if we have a Internet policy for our unit. We do have a website and FB page... mostly to share info and pictures of activities via FB. I have two or three scouts that have friended me via FB. I accepted their request. I would not seek out or send a friend request to a scout (for reasons other posters have stated).

            I don't see a problem with it. FB is MUCH more transparent and retrievable than a private e-mail or phone call (both of which I have routinely with scouts as an ASM and MBC to set up meetings / classes / SM conferences / Etc). I don't see how this is a YPT issue at all. First of all, its retrievable. Secondly, we have 'private' conversations with scouts all the time, albiet inthe same room as other scouts / scouters, but out of earshot. Am I to request a scout have his parent on the other line when they call me to set up a meeting time for SM conference or a MB review for sign off?

            I have had phone conversations, text messages, e-mails, and FB posts from scouts. How is any of them different from another? I guess one could be concerned with someone "grooming" a potential victim via such methods, but you can't molest someone over the internet and a pedophile would have to be a special kind of stupid to interact with a youth in a manner that can be tracked / traced / reproduced from a 3rd party ISP.

            Seems like much ado about nothing to me...

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            • #8
              I've done research on this topic and recently presented a class on it at U of S.

              I am not a lawyer, so all my info is just my opinion. BSA has their guidelines here: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/...cialMedia.aspx

              Basically think of YPT working on the internet as well. You should never email, private message, or instant message a scout directly on a one on one basis. If they contact you via this method, I recommend replying back with another party on the thread like their parent or another scout leader. This protects you, and you should mention that communication should not be to you on a one on one basis. Posting on a facebook wall is fine because it is public.

              That is BSA policy, because of a very small amount of people that are terrible people. Always best to make sure that one on one contact is minimized as much as possible. Sometimes it is unavoidable but you should do your best to make it be visible to another party. This is no different from a scout approaching you in a non-scouting situation in person.

              Anyway, that is my understanding from my research of the policy and from discussions with our Key 3.

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              • #9
                I don't think I would want Scouts following me on Facebook, but FB, instant message and email are all trackable media. If you are carrying on a one-on-one conversation with a Scout, the records will back up what you talked about. Texting is not retrievable (or at least not easily), so I would avoid that unless necessary in an emergency. Seems to me that Troop websites or FB pages would be the place to communicate directly with Scouts. I don't really see the point in the requirement to copy another adult on an email directly to a Scout, but it can't hurt.

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                • #10
                  I use email for any pertinent information from the unit and that email goes to the parent. Even though I promote a boy-led program, the email connection is for information passing only and it gives the parents a connection with me if they have questions.

                  Stosh

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Kahuna View Post
                    I don't think I would want Scouts following me on Facebook, but FB, instant message and email are all trackable media. If you are carrying on a one-on-one conversation with a Scout, the records will back up what you talked about. Texting is not retrievable (or at least not easily), so I would avoid that unless necessary in an emergency. Seems to me that Troop websites or FB pages would be the place to communicate directly with Scouts. I don't really see the point in the requirement to copy another adult on an email directly to a Scout, but it can't hurt.

                    I think the point is, even though it may be trackable, this helps prevent it from going to court to get the thread. It is more about prevention than prosecution. Like you said it can't hurt.

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                    • #12
                      I guess this started from my comments in the other thread. I do not friend youths who are not related to me. I am a CM, involved with two Crews, and coach girls' softball. We have pages for the Pack, Crews, and team . I won't email or text the girls in the crews or team without copying their parents either. I will accept friend requests from their parents after I get to know them. The implication of impropriety is a damnig and damaging, because like it or not you are guilty until proven innocent.

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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by mashmaster View Post
                        I've done research on this topic and recently presented a class on it at U of S.

                        I am not a lawyer, so all my info is just my opinion. BSA has their guidelines here: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/...cialMedia.aspx

                        Basically think of YPT working on the internet as well. You should never email, private message, or instant message a scout directly on a one on one basis. If they contact you via this method, I recommend replying back with another party on the thread like their parent or another scout leader. This protects you, and you should mention that communication should not be to you on a one on one basis. Posting on a facebook wall is fine because it is public.

                        That is BSA policy, because of a very small amount of people that are terrible people. Always best to make sure that one on one contact is minimized as much as possible. Sometimes it is unavoidable but you should do your best to make it be visible to another party. This is no different from a scout approaching you in a non-scouting situation in person.

                        Anyway, that is my understanding from my research of the policy and from discussions with our Key 3.
                        We had a public FB page for about 5 minutes until "friends" of half the scouts who were tagged in photos showed up to post "fag" this and "loser" that.

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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Scouter99 View Post

                          We had a public FB page for about 5 minutes until "friends" of half the scouts who were tagged in photos showed up to post "fag" this and "loser" that.
                          Wow, that is such a sad state of affairs. That is horrible.

                          We have a FB page that is closed and private, we haven't had issues with that. We do get people asking to be members that are clearly spam that I can deny access.

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by mashmaster View Post

                            Wow, that is such a sad state of affairs. That is horrible.

                            We have a FB page that is closed and private, we haven't had issues with that. We do get people asking to be members that are clearly spam that I can deny access.
                            Well, that's my point with the BSA policy you linked, which clearly states that all unit FBs must be public pages, not private groups. Our group is also private now. I can delete negative comments all day long, but that doesn't stop the boys from seeing them in the interim.

                            The parts about email and PMs/IMs is just as well-intentioned but misguided. If a person wants/needs to know what I said to a scout in an email, I can pull it up for the or the scout can. If a false accusation is made, it is dead on arrival for the same reason. FB messages in particular cannot be deleted.
                            It isn't a matter of principle for me that I don't copy-in another adult or parent, there's just no need, so I don't unless I want to make sure the scout gets the message before a certain time and think I can achieve that by including a parent.
                            The BSA's stance is nonsensical because it treats emails and FB messages--which are retrievable forever--differently than telephone calls, which can never be retrieved. Or (serious question) is it also the BSA's opinion that if I call a scout or a scout calls me I'm supposed to hold until their mom picks up on the other handset?

                            So, for example, when a new scout takes on the position of responsibility that I work with, then I send him an email with his responsibilities, and what specific things I expect him to do over the next 6 mos. I copy in parents, the SM, and the SPL because they also need to know that. But 3 weeks later when I need to tell the scout "hey, make sure you do X this week" or tell the SPL "hey make sure Johnny does X this week" I don't copy in anyone--there's no point.
                            Last edited by Scouter99; 01-23-2014, 12:27 PM.

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