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Troop Smartphone Policy

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...... 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.

 

And so, here we are.  :)

Edited by RememberSchiff

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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.

Except when mountains, trees or other phenomenon play with the signal.

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

 

I get texts from my older sons regularly during the day.  And, they keep their phone silenced pretty much all the time.  I used to hear that teachers would threaten to confiscate the phone.  Now, I think it's just reflected in grades. -->  Ya don't listen == Ya don't get good grades.

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@@CalicoPenn brings up a good point. If a Scout is nose-deep in a book, is it any different than continually staring at a mobile phone. I would say it depends on the book and what they are using the phone for. If they are reading a MB pamphlet or other Scouting book then I have no issue. Same if they are using the phone for the same reasons. But how often are these kids using phones for those purposes?

 

In my experience, the reality is that the vast majority of phone usage is for gaming or texting. Remember, the goal of summer camp is to get the kids outside and experiencing the outdoors. Two kids sitting on a bench doing multi-player gaming is NOT the same as two kids sitting on a bench playing cards.

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Use to strictly ban cell phones back in the day and confiscate them.  Now we don't but tell Scouts AND parents they shouldn't bring them.

Lose them?  Oh well, were told to keep at home for a reason.  Cell phones lose power?  Sorry, Scouts not allowed in leader lounge to recharge and if they leave in the dining hall to recharge and get stolen, oops.  

 

However, doesn't have to be ban or allow 100%.  Did a 6 day wilderness trek with older Scouts.  No Scout was allowed to power on cell phones or have a GPS on the trail.  Music they would listen to were the birds and wild blowing thru the trees and canyons.  Video games was sleeping under the stars and being able to almost touch the Milky Way at 9,000' and look for a shooting star every 2 minutes.  Day 5 in cell service area, but still no phones.  (One digital camera was shared on the trail for pictures.)  Day 6 was the last day and on a 3,000' overlook and 1 mile from the end of the trail cell phones allowed.  All batteries were fine and all took photos and texted and called parents, siblings, and GFs.  Best part was family and friends hadn't heard from the Scouts in a week and certainly worried.  Not only relief but proudness exhibited by parents that their sons survived the trek and loved it.  

 

Last item is young Scouts and home sickness.  Parents urged, warned, ordered, whatever NOT to call their sons and not to accept calls or return text messages.  All cell phone #s for leaders given and told to call them instead.  Most comply.  We can sort of control Scouts and sort of control parents but cannot control both without some assistance from the Scout or the parent.  Unfortunately, those Scouts/parents who have issues are sadly the ones, both Scout and parents, who would benefit most from the Scout staying in Scouting.  For new Scouts if the parents make contact the Scout homesickness gets worse, the Scout leaves camp and then doesn't return in the fall.  

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From the GPS standpoint, we've had good success using the free "Backcountry Navigator" app on smartphones. Download the maps (free, and high quality to 1:24,000) ahead of time so you can access them offline/airplane mode. You can drop way points and perform all the functions required for the new 1st Class navigation requirement.

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Well, regardless of whatever difficulties you may be experiencing with smart phone GPS, is that a reason to ban them outright?  Nope.

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When I was a Scout, some troops had rules barring comic books.

 

After the transistor was invented by Bell Labs, some troops barred "transistor radios."

 

Over the years, a number of troops have barred candy, potato chips, and/or ramen noodles.

 

Guess what all these rules have in common?

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Well, regardless of whatever difficulties you may be experiencing with smart phone GPS, is that a reason to ban them outright? Nope.

If the scouts elect to do so, how is an adult stepping to tell them "you can't or shouldn't" any different from an adult telling them to ban them?

 

My old troop did not allow them at summer camp. We never had an issue with home sickness. The one year some scouts broke the rule we had several severe homesickness issues. Parents/kids kept texting and the kid realized he was too far from his Xbox.

Edited by Back Pack

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I wonder where the expression "Death by GPS" came from?

 

My map and compass requires no recharging, works everywhere in the world, never worried about whether it would work when needed.

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I wonder where the expression "Death by GPS" came from?

 

My map and compass requires no recharging, works everywhere in the world, never worried about whether it would work when needed.

I was exploring an area of wilderness a few years ago where trails no longer existed except on old maps. I like to try to follow where these old trails used to go, as often they would go near some neat things. Anyway, my bushwhack using map and compass was uneventful until I headed out; not the way I came but to join up with a marked trail. I took a bearing from my map and followed my compass heading. When I intersected the trail, my position was off considerably. For a few years I could not figure out what went wrong. I then came across an old usgs publication which had a map of this area identifying areas with significant magnetic anomalies due to outcroppings of magnetite ore. These anomalies were upwards of 24degrees depending upon distance. The cause of my navigation error was finally revealed. I still rely on my compass and map, but your comment reminded me of this story.

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@@CalicoPenn brings up a good point. If a Scout is nose-deep in a book, is it any different than continually staring at a mobile phone. I would say it depends on the book and what they are using the phone for. If they are reading a MB pamphlet or other Scouting book then I have no issue. Same if they are using the phone for the same reasons.s But how often are these kids using phones for those purposes?

 

I think a book is different.  There is always some "free time" and if a kid wants to spend some of it reading a book, I have never seen anyone ban that.  I am not even talking about a merit badge pamphlet, it would be pretty ridiculous to prohibit a Scout from reading a MB pamphlet on a Scout activity, assuming there isn't something else he is supposed to be doing.  But I have seen all kinds of books on camping trips, or being packed up for summer camp.  We had a kid who once brought (and I will never forget the title) "C++ for Dummies" on a camping trip.  What can you say to that?  There were also a couple of years in a row where the troop was heading to summer camp within 24-48 hours after the latest Harry Potter book reached the bookstores.  (This was awhile ago obviously.  My son was prime Harry Potter-reading age when the books were coming out.)  This was a huge deal to my son and his similarly-aged friends in the troop.  I actually forget whether they crammed in reading it before they left for camp (and some of these were 700+ page books as I recall) or whether they brought the book to camp, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the after-dinner free time was taken up by reading Harry Potter books.

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What of the scouts who do not have a tool that more and more scouts are bringing along?

 

I have a dumb cellphone by choice - long battery life. I might be able to make a phone call with a smart phone if it had a dialtone and a rotary dial app. :confused:

Edited by RememberSchiff

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This wasn't on a camp but was camp associated..... I got a phone call one Sunday afternoon, it was one of my PLs. She explained she had borrowed her dad's conference calling facility from work and the whole patrol were on a conference call planning a camp. She'd called me up to get me in on it as they had a couple of questions. I answered them and rang off leaving them to it.

 

Scouts and tech have their place! Have to say I was quite impressed with that patrol.

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If the scouts elect to do so, how is an adult stepping to tell them "you can't or shouldn't" any different from an adult telling them to ban them?

 

 

Back Pack, you seem to be jumping around between a variety of unrelated ideas, and I can't quite follow all of your logic.  Your particular question here is basically the same as if the PLC considers creating any other rule or policy.  They need to think through it, weigh the pros and cons, and commit to follow through on their decision.  This specific issue (scouts wanting to ban their own cell phones) has never come up in my experience.  I guess we're too busy doing more interesting things with our time?

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