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Saltface

YPT: Logic of No One-on-One Digital Contact

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I finally took the new Youth Protection Training yesterday. Among other things, this part didn't make much sense to me:

Leaders may not have one-on-one private online communications or engage one-on-one in other digital activities (games, social media, etc.) with youth members. Leaders should copy a parent and another leader in digital and online communication, ensuring no one-on-one contact takes place in text, social media, or other forms of online or digital communication.

In my mind, I've role-played out how compliance or non-compliance of this rule will play out:

Situation 1: Cubmaster Nefarious Nathan is grooming a child for abuse through text messages. He doesn't carbon-copy another adult as that would give him away. The scout shows his parents the incriminating texts and Nathan is removed from the pack and/or prosecuted.

Situation 2: Scoutmaster Innocent Ivan texts a scout to remind him of an assignment. He doesn't carbon-copy another adult as Innocent Ivan is also indolent. Life continues.

Situation 3: 2nd Class Scout False Accuser Fred claims Ivan has been sending him inappropriate text messages. When asked for the evidence, he claims he deleted it. It's Fred's word versus Ivan's. (In real life, Ivan would probably have evidence to his innocence).

Situation 4: Fred claims Assistant Scoutmaster Diligent Dave also sent him inappropriate texts (which is untrue). Dave pulls out his phone and shows that every single one of his texts to Fred have been CC'ed to Ivan. "Well, of course those are the only texts still on his phone!" cries Fred, "He deleted all the bad ones. I deleted them off my phone, too!" Once again, it's Fred's word versus Dave's.

I don't see how this requirement accomplishes anything. The only way it could prevent abuse is if Nathan foolishly CCs another leader with incriminating content. It does nothing to prevent false accusation. What am I missing?

 

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Both Ivan and Dave could prove with the help of the phone company how many texts have been sent to fred and if dave saved them it proves what he sent

 

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6 minutes ago, TMSM said:

Both Ivan and Dave could prove with the help of the phone company how many texts have been sent to fred and if dave saved them it proves what he sent

 

But Ivan (being indolent) never deletes his old messages, he already has a record of what he has sent to Fred. There's no need to include Dave on the messages.

The phone records are what I was thinking of when I said he would probably have evidence of his innocence.

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Posted (edited)

"Deleted" doesn't really mean deleted, not in this digital world. 

If a leader is appropriately texting a scout and copying another leader and a parent on communications, even if the messages are deleted on both phones, they still exist and could be used in any litigation. 

Edited by FireStone

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Well...to be candid the challenge is often how to disprove the negative, how to "un-ring" a bell

A person can accuse someone, then the burden of proof is on the accused to prove their innocence.  What was outlined in the starting comment, can have the words TEXT changed for CONVERSATION and you would still be in a He Said / She Said.  Nothing really new, the ONE on ONE contact issues can be phone, in a tent, in a car, on text, or a conversation in full view of many people.

Leaders needs to know their scouts and where the pitfalls may be

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Not to change the subject, but curious. A) what does the new YPT say about Scouters over 21 contacting Scouters 18-20 and B) what does it say about FEMALE Scouters 18-20 working with a boys' troop?

 

Back on topic, BSA will take the word of a Scout over an adult any day. And even when a criminal investigation exonerates the accused, they not only lost all respect and credibility in their community, but may not be allowed back inteh organization. Saw that happen first hand to a freind.

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1 hour ago, Saltface said:

I finally took the new Youth Protection Training yesterday. Among other things, this part didn't make much sense to me:

Leaders may not have one-on-one private online communications or engage one-on-one in other digital activities (games, social media, etc.) with youth members. Leaders should copy a parent and another leader in digital and online communication, ensuring no one-on-one contact takes place in text, social media, or other forms of online or digital communication.

In my mind, I've role-played out how compliance or non-compliance of this rule will play out:

Situation 1: Cubmaster Nefarious Nathan is grooming a child for abuse through text messages. He doesn't carbon-copy another adult as that would give him away. The scout shows his parents the incriminating texts and Nathan is removed from the pack and/or prosecuted.

Situation 2: Scoutmaster Innocent Ivan texts a scout to remind him of an assignment. He doesn't carbon-copy another adult as Innocent Ivan is also indolent. Life continues.

Situation 3: 2nd Class Scout False Accuser Fred claims Ivan has been sending him inappropriate text messages. When asked for the evidence, he claims he deleted it. It's Fred's word versus Ivan's. (In real life, Ivan would probably have evidence to his innocence).

Situation 4: Fred claims Assistant Scoutmaster Diligent Dave also sent him inappropriate texts (which is untrue). Dave pulls out his phone and shows that every single one of his texts to Fred have been CC'ed to Ivan. "Well, of course those are the only texts still on his phone!" cries Fred, "He deleted all the bad ones. I deleted them off my phone, too!" Once again, it's Fred's word versus Dave's.

I don't see how this requirement accomplishes anything. The only way it could prevent abuse is if Nathan foolishly CCs another leader with incriminating content. It does nothing to prevent false accusation. What am I missing?

 

Almost everything in YPT doesn't really accomplish anything useful. Its just a CYA for the folks doing things correctly.  That and situation #4 can be remedied by the phone company. 

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I have been copying parents on emails since before it became a rule in the BSA.  I was a "mentor" for my son's high school robotics team (in non-technical areas) and I found myself writing an email to the captain of one of the sub-teams that I was assisting, and it occurred to me, Hey, you are writing to a 16- or 17-year-old girl, and flashing lights, bells and sirens started going off in my head.  So I decided to cc one of her parents, and luckily I had the parents' email from some team-wide email.  Then I decided, why not do that for every student, and later, every Boy Scout (such as in merit badge counseling.).  It makes things cumbersome sometimes but I think it's the smart thing to do.  (And now the BSA requires it.)

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35 minutes ago, FireStone said:

"Deleted" doesn't really mean deleted, not in this digital world. 

If a leader is appropriately texting a scout and copying another leader and a parent on communications, even if the messages are deleted on both phones, they still exist and could be used in any litigation. 

It depends on the setup of the cellular provider but most don't archive texts for more than a few days. However, they do keep a metadata record. At any rate, the only metadata that would matter are those of the primaries in the conversation: Nathan wouldn't CC another adult on an incriminating text message and Ivan or Dave simply have to prove the messages they sent match up with all the metadata held by the provider. A second leader makes no difference.

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19 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Not to change the subject, but curious. A) what does the new YPT say about Scouters over 21 contacting Scouters 18-20 and B) what does it say about FEMALE Scouters 18-20 working with a boys' troop?

Nothing more than what you probably already know: no tenting with an adult unless it is your own parent, two deep, no one-on-one, etc. 

19 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Back on topic, BSA will take the word of a Scout over an adult any day. And even when a criminal investigation exonerates the accused, they not only lost all respect and credibility in their community, but may not be allowed back inteh organization. Saw that happen first hand to a freind.

YPT strongly backs the philosophy of reporting any credible accusation without investigating it yourself. For Irving, this makes a lot of sense: if it's true, they want a professional to deal with it; if it's false, it's no skin off their back what happens to the accused. Either way, BSA can extricate itself from a lawsuit as they followed proper procedure.

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I think # 3 - is what we all should be careful of when we here a scout accuses an adult. If there is no evidence the scout has none and should own the burden of proof. Lets get the facts before rumors get out or fingers get pointed. 

When I text my SPL I always include the ASPL and an ASM. it does not have to be a parent.

 

If you think you can get away with something sneaky and text about it - your an idiot. Same with email.  Better off just being a good person.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, NJCubScouter said:

I have been copying parents on emails since before it became a rule in the BSA.  I was a "mentor" for my son's high school robotics team (in non-technical areas) and I found myself writing an email to the captain of one of the sub-teams that I was assisting, and it occurred to me, Hey, you are writing to a 16- or 17-year-old girl, and flashing lights, bells and sirens started going off in my head.  So I decided to cc one of her parents, and luckily I had the parents' email from some team-wide email.  Then I decided, why not do that for every student, and later, every Boy Scout (such as in merit badge counseling.).  It makes things cumbersome sometimes but I think it's the smart thing to do.  (And now the BSA requires it.)

I too would feel awkward emailing a teenage girl without having one of her parents witness the conversation, but this prevents neither inappropriate contact or false accusation. There's no barrier to sending another email that does not include the third party and there's no way to prove another email wasn't sent (unless if one of the accounts is journaled). 

I'm not saying any of us would do such a despicable thing, I'm just saying this rule is about as useful as a white crayon when it comes to preventing abuse.

Edited by Saltface

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Here's a situation:

Encouraging youth leadership, I have a scout take point as the contact person for our Memorial Flag placement project. Leaders from around the district are to send that scouts their contact info and #s coming.

Is it on me to remind leaders to CC another adult?

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Simple solution: don't use texting. It's called SMS (Simple Message Service) for a reason. It's not a secure nor foolproof method of communication.

There are services such as Remind that are better at submitting messages through SMS that have distribution lists and archival options. That is, if you insist on mobile communications.

Email would be a better way to go if truly concerned about YPT (or CYA, however you want to call it).

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At a minimum you should make sure the other leaders know your contact is a youth.

It certainly would be HELPFUL of you to remind them of the new(ish) rule about electronic communications with youth.

As a practical matter, it's likely most communications will be group emails.

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