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Adult Supervision for Online Communications

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I recently learned that Scouts in our unit have set up a couple private online chat groups, one for PLC matters and another less formal group to "keep in touch". From what I understand, both of these chat groups are somewhat more persistent than a text message or e-mail stream. My gut tells me that since these are connected to the Troop, they should be monitored by a couple of adult leaders, but I'm trying to find out if there is an official policy I can point to on the matter. Has anyone run into this before?

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Can you explain why you think this format requires adult monitoring, when text messages and emails and Facebook Messenger and snaps and Instagram messages between and among Scouts don’t require monitoring?

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 I can't think of any policy that would cover this, other than to say that YPT rules DO NOT APPLY because there are no adults involved and it's not actually a troop account.

 

 

 

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You know, when I was a kid the Holy Grail was to set up semaphore stations between patrol members in different neighborhoods so that we could communicate without Mom, Dad, or Girlfriend complaining about us tying up the phone with scout stuff.

That said, my kids were strongly encouraged by their youth leaders to set up their social media accounts in such a way that adults who they could trust were in the loop.

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And for some types of social media there is the age issue.   You either have to be at least 13 years old, or lie about your age and claim to be 13 years old to use them.    This is awkward for things that should not be excluding the younger kids,  since we don't want to encourage them to lie about their ages.   (Haven't seen this issue in BSA yet, since I'm not associated with a BSA troop yet.   But the issue came up with the church youth group.)

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8 minutes ago, RichardB said:

The private online situation should cause pause, and does not meet Scouting's Barriers to Abuse.  https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/gss/gss01/#a

Richard, I respect that you hang out here and take the abuse.

But give me a goshdarn break!

We cannot police all online, digital or social media contact among our Scouts. That is simply an impossible task. Even the attorneys in your shop have got to recognize that.

We cannot force Scouts to let us in to their private Instagram conversations, copy us on text messages, or friend us on Snapchat - all arenas for a “private online situation.” If we approached their parents asking us to let us do such a thing, we’d be laughed out of town. This is happening in school, on sports teams, in church groups ... that’s how youth these days communicate. It’s not nefarious.

The same thing that you fear is happening on these platforms - bullying and abuse - could be taking place in person in conversations among patrol members on hikes and campouts. They could be happening in in-person meetings of this very same PLC when the Scoutmaster steps out of the room to take a call or go to the bathroom. We don’t require Scouts to have all conversations within earshot of a registered and YPT-trained adult over 21.

Now, all that said: Would it be a best practice to have the SM included in the PLC group just as a silent observer to keep tabs on things? Perhaps, yes. But as a program resource, not a hall monitor.

Dont fear technology. Teach them to use it properly, set limits, and model Scoutlike behavior. That’s all we can do.

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RichardB, Wow I almost forgot. This is off topic I know but is Dave Steele still around someplace? I kinda miss him.

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1 minute ago, packsaddle said:

RichardB, Wow I almost forgot. This is off topic I know but is Dave Steele still around someplace? I kinda miss him.

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I would say leave them be on this one.  I feel like you could only make it worse by being involved.  Unofficial online communication between youths is up to parents to police not Scout Leaders.  If for some reason an adult is invited, make sure at least 2 adults are included as being the sole adult involved in the communications would be a big no-no.  

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2 hours ago, RichardB said:

https://scoutingwire.org/marketing-and-membership-hub/social-media/social-media-guidelines/

The private online situation should cause pause, and does not meet Scouting's Barriers to Abuse.  https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/gss/gss01/#a

 

Could you be more specific and point out exactly where you see it not meeting Scouting's Barriers to Abuse.

As described this is youth to youth communication.  If a scout texts or emails or snapchats another scout is that now a violation or a situation where we adults have to require we are copied in?

Pointing to several pages of verbiage and saying read here is unhelpful.. If it was obvious we'd all see it, if you want to be helpful, and help us both both serve our scouts and keep them safe then spell out exactly where you see what we apparently cannot.

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Why would it need to be monitored? So even if it was only scouts and they all happened to be friends, an adult would have to monitor it?

Scouts can’t be friends outside of scouting and talk?

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Concerning Social Media (so called)…. If it were my Troop, all I would do is congratulate the Scouts on taking "Scout Led" seriously, and remind them that the Scout Promise and Scout Law applies even in virtual space.... 

And if they ever need some counsel, I am here.  Two deep.   

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