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Stosh

How much is too much?

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I supposed everyone has his or her own homesickness story.

 

A stayed at the Health Lodge while doing SM/ASM training this week, and a boy (12) came to see the nurse at least twice each day.  He was on his "device" repeatedly to Mom begging her to come get him, although it appears she was telling him to tough it out,   

 

The SM said the Scout was OK when busy in a MB session or other activity, but began to get weepy with any spare time and would progress to hyperventilation.   The SM was doing his best to keep him busy, but could not devote 100% of his time to one of 23 Scouts and had as his only adult support a brand-new dad who was "uncomfortable with a crying kid.".

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I let my son take his cell phone (with a 20,000 mah battery) to NYLT.  He used it to track the weather, take pictures, send texts (during permitted times), in a geocatching competition and call home a couple of times.  I suspect he also used it to play games during downtime.  Did it detract from the experience?  I don't think so.  Did it enhance the experience -- I do think so.  Most of the phone conversations were recounting his day.  

 

One of the phone conversations was after he had a very frustrating day with his patrol.  According to him, they had done an activity and everyone was telling everyone else what to do and arguing.  He said he was quiet during the activity, and then when they got back to the campsite he pulled the patrol together and told them they weren't doing what they were supposed to be doing and that they should be applying what they learned.  The response was that he was taking it too seriously and that "we're 13 years old, we can do whatever we want."  His response was "at 13 we should be mature enough to do what we are supposed to do."  After venting his frustration, I told him that his patrol had done what it was supposed to do in the storming phase.  It clicked right there for him (they had gone over the phases, but it seemed more academic until that point).  He was concerned because he was going to be the PL the next day.  We talked about servant leadership and how he has to lead by helping others work together -- not yelling "we have to do this!" but by quietly encouraging "we can do this."  He went to sleep, feeling pretty good.  The next day proved that his patrol was up to the task and he said, "we're definitely more norming today."

 

Part of it is maturity - to only use the phone when permitte\d.  We allow boys to bring phones on backpacking treks and allow patrol leaders to have them on any campout (because patrols can do activites on campouts without adults) as a safety precaution.  My son brought his DS when we did a backpacking trek with just the two of us.  He played some at night after dinner and before we went to sleep.  My son also has a battery operated radio, which he takes backpacking.  We were able to get the weather on that when we had no cell phone signals.  I'm looking at buying a portable projector to do a movie campout.  The older scouts would love to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail and my son was thinking that a movie night with the Minion movie would be fun for Webelos.

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So far in my tenure, the cell phone alone has cost me 8 scouts to homesickness, never to return to scouting and one Eagle candidate had to postpone his EBOR for 6 months because of it.

 

Uh oh.   Now that sounds like a story.   Care to share?  :)

 

Beavah

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Smart phones and tablets do this too.

 

Yes, but the kindle is basically self-contained. It doesn't have the other features of a smartphone or tablet which entice us to check email, Facebook, etc.- just for a second. Our Troop has a no electronics policy on outings, but I think that a Kindle or other e-reader without wifi/cell access would be an acceptable exception to that policy.

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I'm personally not a fan of technology while camping.  To me it just takes away from the enjoyment of nature.  Too many kids are glued to their phones nowadays.  I don't think I would go so far as to not allow them at all on campouts, but I would certainly encourage them to use them as little as possible. 

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We used the Cyber Chip to liberalize the policy Smart Phone's on campouts and after one year the PLC wants to ban them again. The boys claim they cause too much trouble. A couple boys quit but they were never very avid scouts.

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I liken this to watching Star Wars in the correct order, 4-5-6-1-2-3.  There's continuity there and something to be gained by doing things a different (re: old) way.  You appreciate things more, and learn real value.  When you're an adult, make whatever choices you want, but kids are plugged into tech practically 24x7, let them unplug for a while, learn how to "Be Prepared" by using alternative methods to requiring a power source.  Nothing wrong with tech, but knowing how to do without it, is a very valuable skill to have.  Helped me and my family tremendously when Hurricane Sandy wiped out the power for 13 days.  

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