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Troop Smartphone Policy

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Our policy mirrors Richard B's.  Cell phones are a tool, you can use it properly or improperly, and like Richard said we try to model good cell phone behavior.

 

I have not seen any more misuse of cell phones than I have of any other object.  The scouts police themselves in terms of not sitting around playing games or otherwise using them when they probably shouldn't be.

 

The summer before last my troop sent a crew to Philmont.  They had initially been training with and were going to go with a gentleman who is one of the council old salts who essentially goes to Philmont every year.  He had told our scouts absolutely no phones on the trek for any reason.  When asked why he said that's just not the right way to do Philmont; I know him well, he's a great guy, but that's pretty much his view --- there is only one right way to do scouting, all other ways are wrong.  As it turned out our scouts ended up filling their own crew and so were freed from that univision.  The day they climbed baldy they took a picture of themselves at the summit holding a sign thanking me for helping them get there; they somehow found enough coverage sometime later that day to text that photo to me.  Whenever I hear someone say scouts shouldn't have cell phones I pull out that picture and ask them to describe to me what exactly they can describe as wrong.

 

I am genuinely curioous for those who ban cell phones, what do you think scouts would be doing with them that you would find so objectionable.

Edited by T2Eagle
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I guess what I'm hearing is that "it depends". The level of maturity and responsibility of the PLC will vary with each election cycle, and some may embrace and respect the privilege while others may go another direction. Only time will tell. Although, I'm hopeful that we can come to some compromise where limited use of technology when and where appropriate will benefit the overall experience. Thanks for the input!

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Well, here's a funny coincidence, in light of what I wrote earlier this afternoon:

 

https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/04/25/supreme-court-justices-phone-goes-off-in-court/22055276/

 

It used to be that if your phone audibly rang in court, it would be confiscated.  That will still happen in most courtrooms if the judge is "on the bench."  But not if you're the judge, though I have never seen that happen.  Well, now I guess I have read about it happening.  In the U.S. Supreme Court, no less.

 

But it sort of supports my point.  If you think about it, why does a Supreme Court justice need to have a phone with him all the time?  Particularly when he is "in the office"?  And yet, this one does, and they probably all do, he just forgot to turn it off or put it on silent.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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I was at Philmont last summer. I saw three crews at the base of the Tooth, 90% of them were on their phones gaming or texting. A few didn't want to "bother" with going to the summit.

 

For every story about Scouts using phones right, there are easily an equal number of stories about them never taking their face out of the technology when they should.

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Our policy mirrors Richard B's.  Cell phones are a tool, you can use it properly or improperly, and like Richard said we try to model good cell phone behavior.

 

I have not seen any more misuse of cell phones than I have of any other object.  The scouts police themselves in terms of not sitting around playing games or otherwise using them when they probably shouldn't be.

 

 

We're in the same camp.  It's a tool to be used responsibly.  For many, the cell phone is the same as a newspaper, book or card game.  It's just the modern version with more twists.  But that's not our main reasoning for letting scouts have phones. 
 
Our main reason is that we want to build trust with the scouts.  We want the scouts to reason for themselves and make their own decisions.  If I'm in the mode of laying down rules and threatening to confiscate stuff, then I'm putting up a wall with the other scouts.  I'm also setting an example of big-boss dictating to the serfs.  
 
Our troop is more focused on scouts socializing and participating.  And we'd be the same with books, card games or pretty much any other distraction.  And even then, we'd do it as a friendly conversation and suggestions.  
 
I feel strongly because I remember being with a troop that had a no-electronics policy.  Their SPL and senior scouts became "enforcers".  They confiscated stuff.  Then, they disappeared into their own tents and played games and used the electronics of the other scouts.  
 
It created a hypocritical environment with scouts continually trying to get away with things.  I think it's more important to promote trust.  
Edited by fred johnson
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I used to take them away. Now I agree with a phone is a tool, don't abuse it. Abuse is using your phone as a bubble. In other words, if a scout is so wrapped up in a game or music or whatever that he's not participating with the scouts around him then there's a problem. Since an entire patrol can't really see one screen, and we never camp where there's cell coverage anyway, this usually means put the phone away. If a scout wants to sit in his tent and listen to music while his buddy sleeps, I don't mind. Pictures are encouraged. If someone is listening to music to the point that someone else can't get their attention then he gets teased a bit, he puts the cell phone away, and all is good. I will add that nobody likes noise pollution on campouts, so no music speakers.

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For every story about Scouts using phones right, there are easily an equal number of stories about them never taking their face out of the technology when they should.

The responsibility of the adults is to provid a program where scouts learn to balance the consequences of their choices with the Scout Law. The more a scout chooses, the more he gets to practice with the Scout Law.

 

I used to instruct adults at leader training that the choices troops hold from their scouts are typically based from a adult fears or arrogance.

 

Over the years of doing this scouting stuff, l found consistent scout behavior mimics consistent adult behavior. So the adults only real fear is their arrogance of hypocrisy.

 

The way past adult fears is training and setting expectation. In this case, Teach how the phones can be valid tools During scouting activities and set an expectation that they won't interfere with the scouting experience. Of course some scouts will abuse the expectation, but that is an opportunity to guide the scout in his choices of living by the Scout Law.

 

Barry

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The way past adult fears is training and setting expectation. In this case, Teach how the phones can be valid tools During scouting activities and set an expectation that they won't interfere with the scouting experience. Of course some scouts will abuse the expectation, but that is an opportunity to guide the scout in his choices of living by the Scout Law.

 

But your premise does not see the other 95% of the equation. Their parents' views, or lack thereof, on using technology shapes much of how kids use it. I can have the best program teaching responsible use of technology (and we have many times over the years), only to be undone by parents who use technology as a replacement for actual parenting. We've taught responsible technology use in the past. We've trusted Scouts to use it appropriately. In the end it was the PLC who decided to do away with technology on trips. Guess what? They Scouts police themselves. And when someone, usually a new Scout, violates the rule it is not confiscated and used by the adults or older Scouts. The Scout himself places it back in the vehicle and gets it on the way home.

 

It *can* work the other way too, you know. Scouts can manage themselves in enforcing this as any other rule. Perhaps one day they will elect to allow electronics all the time. It's really a non-issue now since the rule has been in place for a while. And no, we don't consider ourselves any more, or less, "enlightened" because we can or can't use technology on camp outs.

 

I enjoyed the guys playing actual card games at a Philmont campfire, rather than seeing the glow of screens as I saw in one other camp site. To each his own. Our groups chooses the former.

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I am trying to counsel a venturer on avoiding manipulation via cell phone by co-dependent members of the opposite sex.

 

This has nothing to do with usage at meetings or camp. I could ban them then -- with plenty of complaint -- for their own good or my convenience. I effectively do so by hiking them beyond the edge of the coverage map at every opportunity for adventure.

 

But, our success at the adventures these youth want to have depends on their discipline during the other hours of the week. They need the leadership skill that will enable them to force their friends who want some talk therapy to join them in venturing (in the broad sense, not just in the life of our crew) through this beautiful world -- as opposed to their "friends" demanding undivided attention for hours on end via mobile devices.

 

Ideas, anyone?

[Moderators: if this sounds too tangential, a new topic would be fine.]

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I am trying to counsel a venturer on avoiding manipulation via cell phone by co-dependent members of the opposite sex.

 

This has nothing to do with usage at meetings or camp. I could ban them then -- with plenty of complaint -- for their own good or my convenience. I effectively do so by hiking them beyond the edge of the coverage map at every opportunity for adventure.

 

But, our success at the adventures these youth want to have depends on their discipline during the other hours of the week. They need the leadership skill that will enable them to force their friends who want some talk therapy to join them in venturing (in the broad sense, not just in the life of our crew) through this beautiful world -- as opposed to their "friends" demanding undivided attention for hours on end via mobile devices.

 

Ideas, anyone?

[Moderators: if this sounds too tangential, a new topic would be fine.]

 

IMO, not tangential rather the logical extension of what @@Eagledad said in #22, i.e., from the scouting experience to the scout's life.

Edited by RememberSchiff

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In the end it was the PLC who decided to do away with technology on trips. 

 

Please accept that I trust what you say that the PLC decided it.   

 

When I hear adults say "the PLC decided", I raise my eyebrows.  It's like business that hang safety posters on their walls.  You only say it if it's not true.  I've seen PLCs decide things that just don't seem normal for a group to decide and it's often based on lots of adults providing their side comments and nudges.  Yeah, the PLC decided, but they were pretty beat up from the side discussions and interjections. 

 

In my book, it's right up there with arguing about "boy led".  :)

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After 2 incidents with cell phones, they are pretty much banned.

 

First incident involved a homesick scout at summer camp calling mom at 3:00 in the morning to pick him up. That was a mess, and mama bear drove to camp to pick up her Scout. TAfter that incident, cell phone use was limited to the older Scouts.

 

Second incident involved an older Scout letting his little brother use his phone because he had an accident. Adults knew about the accident, administered first aid, and told the scout he'd be fine. Scout wanted to go home. So Lil' brother called dad to pick him up because he was hurt. Thankfully Dad reasonable, and sneaky. :)  Dad called the adults to see what was up. Dad did show up, but observed his "injured" Scout for 30 minutes goofing off and being thrilled he was going home. Lil' brother got the phone a second time and called dad to see what was taking so long. Lil' brother was surprised to hear his dad's phone go off in the bushes and dad was watching him prance around.  After that no phones on camp outs.

 

Now the lock in we have, tech is welcomed.

 

Regarding the comment about adults with phones and control, in correct. We are responsible for the Scouts. And if something happens to the Scouts, we are responsible for contacting them. Also, if somethign happens at home, how are the parents going to contact us?

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But your premise does not see the other 95% of the equation

It's not a premise, it's years of observation.

 

Yes of course the goal is the scouts holding each other accountable for their choices. in fact that is the expectation. I can understand the PLC taking away choices because, like the adults, its easier not holding scouts accountable. But scouts and adults learn to adapt as they mature with the program. Just be careful the adults allow the scouts to adapt as they mature.

 

Barry

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I work around them.  The more they use them the quicker they go dead.  If they miss something because they had their nose glued to the screen.... not my problem.  If someone goes home early from camp never to come back to scouts again,... PL wasn't taking care of his boys..... again, not my problem. 

 

I don't create, allow or even listen to excuses for bad choices with electronics.  It's their choice.... their problem.  If one needs it for Photography MB or GPS for Geocaching?  Make good choices on conserving the battery. 

 

I as an adult, I can keep my phone operational for the full week of summer camp without a re-charge.  I expect my boys to do the same.  If they can't, not my problem.....  :)

Edited by Stosh

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Can't you hold scouts accountable by allowing them to lead and pick their own rules? Nothing wrong with scouts enforcing their own rules.

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