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Cub Scout Facebook Accounts (Individuals, not Pack)

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Good Evening,


My role is that of Pack Trainer.  I've served for almost 5 years.  Recently, I've come across something in our Pack that I'm having mixed emotions about.


First of, I've found out that two of our Cub Scouts (both 9 years old) have facebook accounts.  I'm under the impression that their parents are aware of these accounts.  That 9 year olds have facebook accounts is disconcerting to me, but that is between the parents and the Scout.  I do not believe that 9 year olds have appropriate judgement and rationalization to handle that media.


What IS really concerning to me is that I've received a friend request from both of these Scouts and in so doing, have seen that two other leaders have already accepted friend requests from these Scouts.  


Does anyone see any red flags with this?  Or am I being overly sensitive?  Are we opening ourselves up to possible issues of impropriety? 


I'm very interested in hearing any thoughts or reading any regulations that you may be aware of on this.  I've not found anything that specifically addresses this.


Thanks in advance.


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Welcome to the forum!


I would notify the other leaders that friended the scouts and have them unfriend.  It's throws their status as scout leader in jeopardy.  I no way would I accept a friend request.


Even when I receive email from one of the boys I ALWAYS ACKNOWLEDGE the email by responding with their message attached.  If nothing more than,  I got hour email, I'll get back to you as quickly as I can and blind carbon copy to at least 2 other leaders.  I do this even with Venturing Crew scouts over 18 years of age.


It's a situation one does not want to get any where near in this day and age.

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Facebook, per their terms, requires a minimum age of 13 for someone to create an account.




Someone convinced my daughter to lie about her age and get an account when she was about 9. That was an interesting discussion. Anyway, if the parents did not create accounts for the scouts then the scouts lied about their age.

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I would warn you to be careful. I accepted friend requests from two of the children in my neighborhood (ages 9 & 11). Their mom gave them permission to set up the account and friend me so they can message me to ask the kids to come over and what not. I don't mind that so much, but one day they were being goofy and sent me pictures of themselves on wacky clothes day for school. The boy had dressed up as a girl and was lifting his skirt over his head and doing all kinds of other silly things. 


Out of context though, I have a picture of a cross-dressing boy sending me up-skirt pics! I was very unsettled. We live in strange times and can't be too careful with this stuff. 

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NO WAY should an adult "friend" a youth on social media.  The den or Pack can start a FB Group page, for the dissemination of information, however the BSA rules on social media must be followed.  I would remind all scouts and parents that lying about one's age to join FB ... or just lying in general...is NOT a scout-like behavior and is not condoned.  Reminds me of the days when my own sons were teens and the rage was "P2P" file sharing of music.  I think Napster was the popular one.  They just could not see that it was no better than going to a record store and shoplifting a CD. 

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Yah, this seems to be goin' on in two different threads, eh?


Estimates are that Facebook has over ten million kids under age 13 as users.   Probably more.   So this is a fairly common thing for parents to allow.


Whether an adult should "friend" a youth via Facebook is an open question that each adult should answer for him/herself.  I'm not sure why I or anyone else in da unit or da BSA should have a say.   There are good reasons to do so, and good reasons not to.  As I said in da other thread, either way yeh should be aware of the potential benefits and problems.  


If yeh make it a habit of "friending" kids yeh should be aware of their parents' feelings (though parents who allow FB accounts are probably fine with it).  Yeh should be cautious of "playing favorites" in friending some kids and not others, or having more interactions in your unit with those who are FB friends than kids who don't have accounts, just because yeh know more about 'em.  Yeh should be mindful of your own "friends" and what adult content shows up in your own feed that the boys may be able to access.   Yeh should be mindful that some adults fear new technology and might think poorly of you as a leader.  Yeh should expect at some point to be caught in an ethical dilemma, like whether yeh should alert the lad's parents to some post or behavior.


At the same time, it can be a great way for Webelos-aged lads to feel a part of a group with their den-mates, to keep in touch with extended family, to learn about and get used to technologies that will be a part of their life,  and to really build Scouting.  The presence of lots of adult "friends" also reduces opportunities for predators and other bad actors to get access to the boys and helps model good online behavior in ways that just havin' kid friends does not.


On da flip side, not friending kids can be viewed by the boy as not caring or as a form of social rejection; being "unfriended" is a bullying sort of thing for da upper elementary and middle school crowd as I understand it.   If yeh choose not to friend a kid, you should be sure to seek him out and thank him for the invitation and explain your reasons why not, lest he feel yeh really don't like him.  You'll lose access to a unique window into da lives of your scouts that can help you as a mentor for the boy, even if it's as simple as commentin' on his new addition to his stamp collection.  You'll be leavin' the boy to go it on his own when he's dealin' with challenges that he shares only online, because sharin' online is easiest.   You'll be losing opportunities for meaningful interaction with da quiet/shy/introverted boys in particular, who prefer online interactions because they find it hard to get your attention and time in person.


At the same time, some of your parent community may feel more comfortable with your keepin' a wall there, especially folks newer to da program who don't know you well.   You'll be avoidin' da impression of potential impropriety.  You'll fit in better with us oldsters, who don't trust these newfangled advertising-funded services. 


Personally, I don't have kids as Facebook "friends", but I reckon that's more because I'm an old fuddy-duddy who doesn't really do much with Facebook, eh? :unsure: 



Edited by Beavah
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