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Gameboys, Walkmans and the like

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What is it that I don't like about Gameboys, personal stereos with headphones (Walkman is a registered trademark), etc.?


They eliminate socializing. Ever watch a group of boys with Gameboys? They are each in their own universe. Watch that same group playing Magic, poker or WarHammer and they are interacting.


Stereos are the same way. If there is a group radio, the music becomes a shared experience. Years ago, I worked in a place that had one radio and each day a different person got to pick the station. We learned to tolerate and enjoy different music. One day bluegrass, the next day jazz, another oldies. There was a general rebellion one day when someone picked some wailing middle Eastern music that only he could tolerate (ironically, the chooser wasn't even Middle Eastern) but that was the only problem. People would sing along with songs, discuss the music, etc.. We had a happy and productive workplace.


Later I worked in a place where radios had to have headphones. I dislike wearing headphones so I lived without music. Going to talk to a co-worker became an intrusion into their day because you were interrupting their music. The place was not as happy.


People say, "Kids need Gameboys, DVDs, stereos" in the car. Bull. There's a world outside. Let them look out the windows.

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Gotta agree. We don't allow Gameboys, Walkmans, etc. on camping trips & outings. These devices are even discouraged at our council summer camp. If you're gonna be outdoors, enjoy the outdoors.


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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FOG, I think you just made the best case I have heard for banning those things. I happen to think you're examples are dead on. I know my personal experience is generally in line with your reasoning.

List of traits these devices don't encourage, maybe even discourage:







enthusiasm for the outdoors and nature

appreciation for simple things

I am certain there are more.


That may not be a reason to ban them from all Scouting functions, but it is certainly a reason to discourage their use.


Oh, here is question- why do many school systems ban headphones on buses? I am pretty sure it has something to do with safety issues. Maybe they can't hear driver instructions, though it could be anything.

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I'm right with you on this one.


In our Troop, car rides include one of two things. Short trips to the Council camp inlcude conversation preparing for the campout and the trip back includes conversation critiquing it. No music at all (sometimes if there is an important sporting event, we might turn the radio on).


On longer trips, each person in the car is encouraged to bring one or two of their favorite CDs. In order from highest rank to lowest rank, each guy gets to have his CD played in the car. then the adults get a shot. It's worth listening to "I hit my mom in the forehead with a shovel - It left an impression on her brain" screamed at the top of some transexual's lungs just for the oppurtunity to expose these guys to some classic music, or even classic rock.


I remember my first long trip with the Troop. Five cars. We get to the destination, and four other adults are complaining about the splitting headache they had listening to the screaming innaneness some guys brought. My son and his buddies were into the Beattles at the time, so I had to "endure" Abbey road, the White Album, and Yellow Submarine for four hours. The four other adults sounded like Baseball General Mangers trying to make trades for the ride home. It could have been a profitable weekend for me if I wanted it to be.


These rides, I think, are best as social events, not catonically listening to individual stereos.



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"My son and his buddies were into the Beattles at the time, so I had to "endure" Abbey road, the White Album, and Yellow Submarine for four hours."


I love the Beatles! Be thankful it wasn't Black Sabbath or Def Leppard!


Fat Old Guy,

I agree 100%!


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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I think this is a prime example of a case in which it's difficult to parse the Scout Law to give an answer, and a troop rule (or "collective decision," if you like) might be necessary.

"A scout is courteous" is the only part of the law that seems to me to apply, and it's hard to see how it would support a total ban.

I can see why adults would want to ban these devices on campouts. I feel the same way. To me, one of the most pathetic sights is to see several boys watching another boy play Gameboy.

But...should the adult leadership in the troop be making such a rule? If the boys want to make such a rule (and adult persuasion might be appropriate), I see nothing wrong with it. But an adult rule like this is just the kind of thing that tells the boys that the adults are really in charge. It's not a safety rule--it's just something the adults (including me) find really annoying.

Is there anybody who thinks the boys shouldn't be permitted to establish a rule like this?

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The only time the scouts in our troop are allowed to use radios with headphones is after lights out. The only reason they are allowed at all is some unfounded complaints about chainsaw noises coming from certain tents that happened to be occupied by leaders or some such nonsense.

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Although we dont have an official policy within our Crew about gameboys, walkmans and the like, some still listen to music with headphones while on car rides ---there was one trip we were on where all of the boys wore headphones around their neck the entire 8+ hour ride and the joke was that the headphones actually kept their heads attached. We finally discovered without the headphones their heads stayed attached.


Actually, our crew quite enjoys the car rides without headphones. We have been known to sing at the top of our lungs to Disney soundtracks and oldies radio stations. I can personally attest to the fact that OGE has been known to belt out some songs from Pochantas and a few bars of Brown Eyed Girl, Jack and Diane and lots of the Beatles. (I hope I didnt let out any secret, OGE...you should share your Jethro Tull song, too, cause it's funny and fitting!!!). We in the crew also use long car rides to catch up current events, learn more aboutthe history of Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting, talk about current classes, future plans of college, studying abroad and jobs. Car rides are important socializing times for us.

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But wouldn't prohibiting these devices be setting an unneeded artificial rule since the BSA has all the rules already covered? ;)




Introduce the boys to a set of earplugs. They work better than headphones, have no cords to get tangled in and do not require batteries.

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I say let them bring them!

And than follow the program and see if they have time or want to use them! Idle hands are ....

Have them hike into the campsite carrying their gear.

Have a schedule to follow at the campout.

Do not schedule free time, free time should be scheduled as a patrol meeting, to prepare songs and or skits for the campfire.

Have games, skills, etc.

If a scout is not participating have his PL talk to him. And if that does not work, SPL, than SM. Can you see where the Scout Oath would apply to a patrol member not helping or working with his patrol?


In the vehicle we usually listen to some music, but whatever patrol I am riding with, we can usually talk for about 1 hour about the troop, them, the campout! Sing some songs!

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OK Ed, but only because you asked.


On a trip to Harrisburg from Bethlehem (about 90 miles) I had three of the more renown rambunctuos rowdy raspscallions the troop has in the back seat. On the way home they were up to old tricks and generally causing a ruckus, not bad, but after a 10 miler I didnt want to listen to the usual show they put on. I tried to find a good rock and roll station to drown them out and nothing could get picked up. Then I remember I have a "Best of Jethro Tull" tape in the car. I slipped it in and told the scouts this was one of my all time favorite bands. As luck would have it, the tape starts pretty close to the beginning of the song "Livin' in the Past". Well ol' Ian is groovin' on his flute and the scouts have the termity to ask if what is being played is "Country" music. I must confess I almost swerved off the road, Jethro Tull? Country? Todays youth have no appreciation for culture.


Well, I know what song is next, and between pauses I crank the volune as high as possible. The next song, the immortal classic "Aqualung".


The song starts with its classic, signature riff and the sounds just reverberates through the car. Then it goes silent for what seems forever and the main body of the song starts. Well, the scouts were poking each other and carrying on until they heard the intro, then their eyes bugged out and they sat in rapt attention. We listened to that tape all the way home. Lucky I can never get tired of Aqualung. They wanted to know who it was singing, I said Jethro Tull, they ask who is that. I explained its not a who, its a what, a band with the inestimable Ian Anderson as the first if not the only "rock and roll flutist." (that should be an oxymoron, but with Ian, it isnt)


Well, all the scouts could do is talk about Mr GreyEagle's taste in music. I need to introduce them to the politcal side of Steppenwolf as well.


Country Indeed!!!!!!!!!


BTW, Our hometown, OT and I's, Bethlehem has Musikfest every year during the first week of August. This past year it featured Jethro Tull, I dont know how many originals are in the band, but Ian was there and as long as Ian plays, Tull RULES!!!!



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Well, Jethro Tull is from another country, so you could call it country music, OGE. :)


Unfortunately, this is me quoting one of my own bad jokes. When I am in the car with one or more of my family and a song comes on the radio that is a British group doing what is really a country song (the Rolling Stones have a few, Genesis one or two, and the Beatles did "Don't Pass Me By"), I say, "here's a country song, but not this country."


Nothing from Jethro Tull, that I can think of, falls into that category, however.

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