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Troop Smartphone Policy

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I'm curious, how different are troop cellphone policies from the local school cellphone policies?

 

In our high school, the kids can have the phones with them, but they are not supposed to use them in the buildings.  They can use them outside, before or after school or during lunch.  At one time the policy (which I helped write when I was on the school board) said any phones spotted in use inside the buildings would be confiscated, but it seems they gave up on that after awhile and now give any violators detention instead.

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... @@RememberSchiff, our school district allows phone usage pretty liberally, though a few campuses don't.

Our school's cell phone policy is permissive as well, based on the number of texts we would get from our kids during hours.

 

I think @@Stosh has an excellent point. Does excessive cell use (an ambiguous definition suitable for BSA literature) violate scout spirit?

Would any of you withhold signing off on scout spirit until you see a scout attend meetings without drawing on his cellphone?

Would being on the cell network during meeting hours be a violation of your troop's attendance policy?

Edited by qwazse

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Our school's cell phone policy is permissive as well, based on the number of texts we would get from our kids during hours.

 

I think @@Stosh has an excellent point. Does excessive cell use (an ambiguous definition suitable for BSA literature) violate scout spirit?

Would any of you withhold signing off on scout spirit until you see a scout attend meetings without drawing on his cellphone?

Would being on the cell network during meeting hours be a violation of your troop's attendance policy?

 

Is an existential Scout ever really here?  ;)

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I personally trust them to use them appropriately and with one or two exceptional incidents they haven't let me down.

 

When they use them as cameras on camps they have been able to email or airdrop photos to me on the spot and I have been able to put them on twitter and facebook in real time.

 

Over all I see this as a balance.

 

On the one hand the genie is out the bottle, this tech exists, we're preparing young people for life, and part of that is appropriate use of tech. Banning it doesn't teach them that.

 

On the other hand the adventurous side of the program does take them places where this tech won't work. They need to be able to function without it.

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We always use the data that is in this

http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/award/tech_chip-2052.asp but not the actual award/card.

 

Scouts using the linked training ideas

will mostly  get the point across to the rest of the scouts that there is a time and place for using your cell phone

and when it interferes with other's enjoyment of the outdoors or interferes with scouting it's a problem 

But that it can be a useful tool.

 

I think MOST people nowadays are poor in their cell phone etiquette and could use some training.

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I agree with the stance that a cell phone is just a tool - we should correct bad behavior, not ban a tool.

 

When I started as an ASM, the troop had a strict "no electronics" rule.  It made enough sense at the time... but as I gained a little more experience, I realized... I don't like spending time enforcing this rule.  I don't like spending time reviewing "policies" about this rule.  I don't like spending time explaining this rule.  I don't like spending time defending this rule.  I can't justify or explain why it is important or necessary.

 

In situations where it's "my call," I personally don't care if you carry your cell phone with you or not.  If you use it inappropriately or unsafely, I will correct that, same as if it were a hatchet or a newspaper or a canoe or anything else.  But if you're behaving respectfully and responsibly, then I see no need to burden you with unnecessary "policies."  That's not fun, rewarding or important for either one of us.

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Cell phone a tool? Camera maybe. Notepad? Sure.

 

The compass on it is unreliable. GPS won't work in back country.

 

If we're going with the "it's a tool" there are better options.

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Level with me - you know as well as I do that there are other, far more common uses, for cell phones than as a compass or GPS unit.  (And the GPS works just fine in the back country.)

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I can't find my cell phone?  Not my problem.

 

I dropped it down the latrine?  Not my problem.

 

Can't find your charging cord?  Not my problem.

 

Battery went dead and you need a charge for Photography MB?  Not my problem.

 

There's no signal here.  Not my problem.

 

Somehow my screen got cracked.  Not my problem.

 

No, I can't call your phone to help you find it, I have to save my battery for important phone calls.  Not my problem.

 

It works for cellphones, it works for flashlights, it works for neckers, it works for wallets, it works for Scout Handbooks, it works for just about anything a Scout drags out into the woods.  It's under the chapter titled, "Taking Responsibility for Oneself." in Mr. Stosh's book. "How to be an Adult".  I had a scout ask me once if I ever lost something while out camping.  I said, "Sure, every now and then."  He said, "That must mean you're not an adult."  I said, "No, I'm an adult because I don't run around in camp trying to get someone else to solve my problem for me." 

 

If Scouts are going to drag expensive electronics out into the woods, they had better come prepared to take care of it, because I'm not taking responsibility for it and I let my parents know it.

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Odd. ATT, Verizon nor Sprint worked consistently well at Philmont or In the Roosevelt forsest. My compass worked 100% of the time.

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GPS won't work in back country.

 

If we're going with the "it's a tool" there are better options.

 

GPS, strictly speaking, should work anywhere, the satellites are not geostationary. Now, needing to download maps and so on, that's a different matter. But pure GPS should still work wherever.

 

And yes, a decent map that you've been paying attention to, and a compass, are more likely to be your friends than a smartphone that has a finite battery.

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Cell phone a tool? Camera maybe. Notepad? Sure.

 

The compass on it is unreliable. GPS won't work in back country.

 

If we're going with the "it's a tool" there are better options.

 

There may be better tools for various tasks but as above, scouting is not an aim in itself. We are preparing young people for life. The smart phone is here, it’s not going away, increasingly young children are getting access to them. We should embrace that fact and play a part in making sure that they use them with courtesy. Simply banning them gives a double whammy of both missing out on their uses and making us look out of touch with the modern world.

 

There is a whole world of information that is available (if you have reception) at the touch of a button that could be useful on a scout camp or day trip. Weather forecasts, train and bus times, opening times and prices of pretty much anywhere you might want to go. If the scouts are going to take the lead then they should be finding out these things if at all possible. Similarly as I said above, they can take photos and airdrop them to me on the spot. I can update our website, facebook and twitter from my phone.

 

I also agree with Stosh though. If they lose or break or run down their phone then tough. Like him I take the not my problem approach. I do though think that it is a good life skill, and one that I am happy to pass on to my scouts, to know how to nurse your phone battery and make it last.

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are phones/electronics banned at 4H, FFA, little league, travel soccer, etc... If a patrol (not plc) decides their activity will be done without aid (or distraction) of some man made object, then ok. I think it is great when a patrol "bans tents" so they can build and sleep in a primitive structure, or "bans stoves" so they can cook over an open fire, etc... If a scout does not want to attend an activity planned by his patrol,ok sit this one out. Miss out on all the fun. If a scout on a campout spends all his time sitting on a log reading and not interacting with his patrol, I would think a SM conference would be in order to help determine why the boy isn't participating. Substitute book for electronic device. IMO, the issue is not the device.

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The day's coming when Scout A texts Scout B who's sitting on the other side of the campfire...... The lack of social norms and community is surprisingly weak because of this electronic age.  One doesn't need a face-to-face anymore. One's egocentric worlds are not going to last in a world necessitated by community.  These electronics only make matters worse, regardless of how acceptable the excuse may sound.

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