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Cub Scouts and Facebook

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Hi everyone,

 

I'm looking for opinions, advice, suggestions on how to handle what may be an awkward situation.

 

It's recently come to my attention that two of our Cub Scouts have Facebook accounts (and Cub Scouts, both 9, are obviously under the 13 year old minimum age on FB).  They have already "friended" a couple of our leaders and I've received a friend request from one of them as well, but have not accepted.

 

I may be overreacting, but it sends up all sorts of YPT red flags to me.  We are about to undertake our annual review of bylaws and code of conduct and I'm wondering if we should add a clause or statement related to this somehow?

 

YPT policy states: Two-deep leadership and no one-on-one contact between adults and youth members includes digital communication.Leaders may not have one-on-one private online communications or engage one-on-one in other digital activities (games, social media, etc.) with youth members. Leaders should copy a parent and another leader in digital and online communication, ensuring no one-on-one contact exists in text, social media, or other forms of online or digital communication.

 

Even though I assume the parents are aware of their sons FB accounts, given the potentiality for the use of Facebook private messages between the Scout and a Leader, I'm thinking this needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

 

Thoughts?

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First of all, welcome to the forum and thanks for not just lurking.  :)

 

I would notify the parents immediately of the boy's FB accounts and the 13 year old age limit.  A scout is supposed to be working on his honesty and lying about his age and publishing that lie on the internet is a cause for concern.

 

I would in no way acknowledge or make contact with the boys, only the parents.  It's up to them to handle their son's activity.

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The leaders should not friend the boys on facebook.  Sadly, I read just this morning that a high percentage of sex offenders use social media as a starting point.  I'm not saying your leaders are just that it is a no win situation.

 

I agree with what Stosh says and talk to the parents.  Their boys behavior maybe endangering them unintentionally. 

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The leaders should not friend the boys on facebook.  Sadly, I read just this morning that a high percentage of sex offenders use social media as a starting point.  I'm not saying your leaders are just that it is a no win situation.

 

I agree with what Stosh says and talk to the parents.  Their boys behavior maybe endangering them unintentionally.

I agree with @@Stosh on this but not because of the risks to the boys. But because of the risks to the adults involved and because it's an honesty issue.

 

As for the stories about sex offenders and social media, don't be taken in by fear mongering stories. The rate is still very low. Look at this article:

 

Scary statistics show that sex offenders are taking over social media.

 

So what are the scary statistics? To quote the above article:

According to a report, the number of sexual assault cases related to both social media sites has reached incredible heights; in only four years since 2009, reports have increased from 139 to 614 – that’s a 341.7 percent increase. To further demonstrate how serious this particular statistic is, half of those cases involved victims under the age of 16.

It's gone up to 614 reported incidents! Lets do the math: Facebook has 1.65 billion monthly active users, so 614 incidents among 1.65 billion users is: 0.0000372%! Yep, that is "incredible heights" and shows that sex offenders are "taking over"! Run for the hills!

 

While one victim is still too many, we need to be realistic about risks and not fall for the overblown narrative that kids are in constant danger (like the ridiculous panic over leaving kids in cars). If we don't, we will continue to end up with stupid rules like not allowing younger scouts to use little red wagons or paint rollers. Rules that will end up causing more harm too more people than any tragedies that might be prevented.

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Yah, hmmm....

 

I know it's hard for us furry critters who are gettin' longer in da tooth to understand these newfangled media, eh?  Stuff we don't understand always causes folks to become fearful.   Reminds me of how my parents felt Rock & Roll was goin' to rot our minds and corrupt us. :p    I wonder if my grandparents were worried that da telephone was goin' to cause bad things to happen, too?

 

I reckon we need to get a grip and think about this for a minute.

 

So if da youth leaders who have been background checked, are known to da parents, are trusted with kids in remote situations in Real Life, etc. aren't allowed to befriend young folks in social media, who do you think is going to befriend kids secretly?

 

Yah, that's right... da real predators are.

 

We don't keep boys safe by buildin' walls, eh?  We keep 'em safe by building communities.  The more good people who know and are friends with a boy, the harder it is for real predators to get away with anything.   The lad has too much social support, too many people readin' his social media, too many people he is willing to turn to with a question or a concern who will listen to him and be able to take action.

 

Real predators need to isolate kids from their other support mechanisms.  By making it taboo or against policy for teachers and scout leaders and older scout friends and relatives and family friends to engage with boys informally, we are helping the predators isolate our kids.

 

Most troops have long since opted to ignore da BSA's poor advice in this regard.  I know personally at least 3 boys who were stopped from using drugs (scout leaders caught drug references on their media, got the boys together with their parents).   I know personally 5 boys who were identified as depressed/suicidal and who found help.   I know one lad who was bein' abused at home and because his scout leader was his online friend he was able to get help.

 

Electronic media leaves records and footprints forever.  It's generally a terrible place to try to solicit kids, at least da big media outlets like Facebook and such.   It's a great place for good people to engage with and encourage young folks.

 

Relax.   There's near-zero risk here, and lots of upside.  And if we find that new media is scary for us da way rock music once was or telephones and electricity were, then I reckon it's our duty to get off of our duffs and learn somethin' about da modern world, painful as that sometimes is for those of us who remember Sputnik. ;)

 

If yeh want to worry about somethin', spend your time worryin' about Uncle Fred who you really trust, or Billy's Dad who always drives da carpool.  Da real risks to kids are relatives and close family friends, eh?  Da people who we've never been afraid of. :(

 

Besides, odds are the lads' parents have access to their accounts anyways. :)

 

Beavah

Edited by Beavah

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We forget that the "Youth Protection " policies and training are misnamed.  It really is, if you think about it, "ADULT Protection".   Two deep?  No one on one contact?  Windows in classroom doors?  SMConferences in public areas?    Of course these things protect the youth, but who is  also protected? 

Folks will say, if I have nothing to hide, why hide ?   Well, it comes down to not letting anyone possibly misconstrue or misjudge our actions. 

I was once chastised for including the whole Troop in my emails to the PLC.  One parent said there was no reason to "overload" his inbox unnecessarily.   I reminded him of our "no one on one contact" and my desire to be completely transparent and observable.  He apologized and we got on....

 

I vote no on "friending " a non-related underage child.  Speak to the parents, they may not know.   They may not WANT to know, but they should.

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All it takes is one beef with a kid and if there's no 2nd adult to back you up, it's his word against yours......and it would seem that in this day and age, yours doesn't count.

 

Take my word for it.  The police will listen to "your side of the story", but all they are interested in is "Where there any witnesses?"  Your word is meaningless.

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Hi everyone,

 

I'm looking for opinions, advice, suggestions on how to handle what may be an awkward situation.

 

It's recently come to my attention that two of our Cub Scouts have Facebook accounts (and Cub Scouts, both 9, are obviously under the 13 year old minimum age on FB).  They have already "friended" a couple of our leaders and I've received a friend request from one of them as well, but have not accepted.

 

I may be overreacting, but it sends up all sorts of YPT red flags to me.  We are about to undertake our annual review of bylaws and code of conduct and I'm wondering if we should add a clause or statement related to this somehow?

 

YPT policy states: Two-deep leadership and no one-on-one contact between adults and youth members includes digital communication.Leaders may not have one-on-one private online communications or engage one-on-one in other digital activities (games, social media, etc.) with youth members. Leaders should copy a parent and another leader in digital and online communication, ensuring no one-on-one contact exists in text, social media, or other forms of online or digital communication.

 

Even though I assume the parents are aware of their sons FB accounts, given the potentiality for the use of Facebook private messages between the Scout and a Leader, I'm thinking this needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

 

Thoughts?

 

IMHO, BSA leaders shouldn't be social media friends with any scouts.  I'm not.

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All it takes is one beef with a kid and if there's no 2nd adult to back you up, it's his word against yours......and it would seem that in this day and age, yours doesn't count.

 

Take my word for it.  The police will listen to "your side of the story", but all they are interested in is "Where there any witnesses?"  Your word is meaningless.

 

This is a good reason not to be a Scouting volunteer, eh?   :(   

 

It's not a good reason not to use electronic media.  Electronic media leaves an objective, permanent trail not dependent on your word, or your memory, or witnesses.   (And witnesses are often useless, eh?  Never ever think of a second adult as a Magical Talisman of Protection.)

 

Da main reason not to be social media "friends" with scouts is that it exposes some aspects of your life and friendships outside of Scouting to the lads.  Dependin' on who yeh are and where yeh are in your life, that might not be appropriate for the boys to see.   Each of us should evaluate that thoughtfully, for sure.

 

Beyond that, it's no different than bein' with boys on a long car ride, and safer than talkin' with 'em for a Scoutmaster conference.

 

Beavah

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Personally, I do not think an adult leader being a facebook friend of a scout is against the G2SS. Basically, every "friend" of said scout will see anything the scout posts or anything the leader posts on the scout's wall. I would not, however private message that scout and if the scout private messages me, I would either not respond, or bring another in on the conversation.

Edited by SWScouter

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Personally, I do not think an adult leader being a facebook friend of a scout is against the G2SS. Basically, every "friend" of said scout will see anything the scout posts or anything the leader posts on the scout's wall. I would not, however private message that scout and if the scout private messages me, I would either not respond, or bring another in on the conversation.

That is correct because it is public but private messages are a huge no no.  SInce it is so easy, I still advise against it.

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I agree with the main points of both of Beavah's posts.  Our kids are digital citizens, they interact act with the world extensively and relentlessly through social media.  If we're not a part of that communication than our voices and our guidance also aren't a part of it.   

 

I believe the second post is probably the more important one to give thought to.  I am very careful about everything I post to FB, and with every post think of whether I mind that everyone and anyone I can think of, and folks who I don't think of, can see and make a judgment about what I post or comment on.  This is in part why I tend to not have an extensive Fb network.  But I am flabbergasted sometimes at what other people post, sometimes intimate things, sometimes just boneheaded things about coworkers, employers, friends, neighbors, etc.  that no one should make permanent and public.  

 

I have not been asked to be Friends with any of my scouts, at least in part because teenagers don't use FB although they certainly use other  social media.  I am considering creating a FB account to use strictly for scouting, so that my own flabbergasting boneheaded posts don't dribble out of my own close circle of relatives and friends and into the wider circle that is my more public scouting life.

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Keep it in mind FB has a way of reposting beyond one's circle of friends and relatives.  I get posts showing up about my firends and family by people I do not know.  Even with private settings, one can never be sure how much and how far any post one makes may travel.

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Keep it in mind FB has a way of reposting beyond one's circle of friends and relatives.  I get posts showing up about my firends and family by people I do not know.  Even with private settings, one can never be sure how much and how far any post one makes may travel.

The thing to remember about Facebook, is that you are not their customer. The customers are the people they sell their data too. The data about their "members". That is why it's free. So Facebook has all the incentive in the world to maximize the data generated, which is in direct odds with the very idea of "privacy". Which is why they keep having problems with their privacy settings. Everything you do on Facebook is the "crop" that Facebook harvests. You are the product. Always remember that before you do anything on Facebook or any other social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).

 

Almost nothing on the internet is actually free (there are a few donor funded services like Wikipedea, but they are the exceptions). If you are offered a free service, ask yourself "what are they getting out of it? How do they afford to offer this?"

 

I find it amazing how few people understand this.

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Do a Google search on hiking boots or such, then notice the ads around everything else you do on the internet, including this forum!

 

The reason why cyber crime and identity theft is becoming so popular is because it's SOOOOOOoooooo easy.  No only do we leave the doors to our house unlocked, we tapes our passwords on our computers and combination code on the safe. 

 

I used to play games with telemarketers just for fun.  Now I play games with scammers on Craigslist, etc.  I have almost a million dollars worth of fake checks and expect the FBI, CIA, and NSA along with Homeland Security to be showing up at my door any day now.  :)

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