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Rick_in_CA

Smart phones and Teens

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This is an interesting article about the effect of smart phones and social media on the current generations of teens. With all the discussion on this forum over the years about scouts and electronics, it adds an interesting perspective on the discussion. Of course it applies not just to scouting.

 

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.

Read More:
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/?utm_source=eb

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I never would have thought it was social media as the cause, or even smart phones, but the results I can see. Lots of scouts no longer get driving licenses when they can. But the bigger problem from the scouting perspective is that kids have less experience making decisions (good or bad), or knowing how to deal with problems, especially people problems. That's making it harder to develop leadership.and that's hurting the program.

 

Maybe helicopter parents are only part of the problem, we also have helicopter kids. They don't have experience being on their own so they are really uncomfortable doing it.It's not enough to tell a scout he can make a decision for himself. Sounds crazy from my experiences but this explains a lot of what I've been seeing.

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More and more evidence points to the massive benefits making the scouts outdoor experience be a formal "electronics free" zone and makes more sense to have a formal 'leave the phones at home' troop policy. 

 

I believe the more we give the youth time in the outdoors away from being 'connected' the more the benefits of the program.  

 

It is disappointing to see some camps and troops, etc so quickly try to 'embrace cell phones because they are so popular'.   I feel it is a disservice to boys to allow them to not be enjoying the outdoors, but to instead all be huddled around a picnic-table or even worse in a tent, staring at a phone screen watching some nonsense cat video on youtube.  Too many adults just want to not face the issue, are unwilling to take a stance, and are allowing this sort of thing to be more common.

 

It is not being a Luddite, or extremist to have part of the program be to experience that unplugging as part of the outdoor experience.

 

I am personally worried that parents have without a single thought, just because everyone else is doing it... stuck into the hands of their children and their developing minds, what is essentially totally experimental, untested, unproved, unknown instruments for affecting the mind and the development of their brains is a massive unguided, social experiment that could have horrible consequences for the next generation.

Edited by ham_solo

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The OP and links are about teens fixating with online social media and the negative results - low social skills, low self-confidence,  less engaging the outside, cocooning from family and others. The smartphone, ipad, etc. are the medium in the OP., but earlier there were dumb phones,  PC's, AOL,  Myspace,....

 

This link describes a possible remedy - "break down the barriers to the adventure gap"  which Duluth is trying.  It sure sounds like  a simple, downsized  family scouting, i.e. just the Outdoor Method. They even have a charter from the city - Duluth Children's Outdoor Charter.

all children should have access to nature in their neighborhoods and in the broader community" and that "children should have formal and informal opportunities to discover and learn about nature through outdoor play and exploration."

 

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/4321734-getting-youths-outdoors-duluth-group-breaks-down-barriers-adventure-gap

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/opinion/local-view/4262879-local-view-duluth-stepping-bridging-adventure-gap

 

I believe the BSA involvement is as a outdoor facility provider.  A "bike fleet housed at the YMCA. Nature backpacks are available at the library. And a gear library is coming to the University of Minnesota Duluth".

Edited by RememberSchiff

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Here is another article about the increase of depression in kids:
 
The Decline of Play and Rise in Children's Mental Disorders
 
Much of what is says applies to scouting. I think it reinforces the importance of real "boy lead" troops and the patrol method. Like this from the article (bold emphases mine):
 

During the same half-century or more that free play has declined, school and school-like activities (such as lessons out of school and adult-directed sports) have risen continuously in prominence. Children today spend more hours per day, days per year, and years of their life in school than ever before. More weight is given to tests and grades than ever. Outside of school, children spend more time than ever in settings in which they are directed, protected, catered to, ranked, judged, and rewarded by adults. In all of these settings adults are in control, not children.

Plus maybe we should do away with all the "school work" merit badges? At least take them off the required lists?

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