Jump to content
sbscouter

Adult Supervision for Online Communications

Recommended Posts

Please don't shoot the messenger, but I think this is the section that requires adults to monitor it.  From: https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/gss/gss01/#a

To help ensure that all communication on social media channels remains positive and safe, these channels must be public, and all communication on or through them must be public. This enables administrators to monitor all communication and help ensure there is no inappropriate communication between adult leaders and Scouts or between Scouts themselves. Therefore, no private channels (e.g., private Facebook groups or invite-only YouTube channels) are acceptable in helping to administer the Scouting program. Private channels and private communication put both the youth and you at risk. If you feel the information you seek to share via social media channels should not be shared in public, you should not share that information via social media.

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I realize this discussion so far has been about troops, but this is a big concern for Crews and Ships where the age range is 14-20. Then you get into no one-on-one communication between an adult and youth in OR out of Scouting! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I know understand the YPT concerns, IMHO there was not a lot of thought into making it. 

My troop has a closed facebook page. Reason for that is one non-custodial parent with a restraining order showed up at an event with the intentions of picking up his sons and taking them with them. Mom heard and the boys never showed up to prevent an incident. We have PLC members communicating via private chat to insure things are going to get done. Scouters use PM to go over stuff and get things done. Stuff that doesn't need to be posted publicly.

Best example of things that do not need to be posted publicly happened this week with the pack.  Webelos are invited to camporee with the troop. WDLs, CM, and SM are handling things. the Tiger DL, whose grandson is a Webelos 2, decides to post the camporee flyer on the pack's facebook page, essentially inviting all the Cub Scouts to camporee. A "discussion" then ensues. That "discussion" could have been done privately, and prevented some embarrassment and frustration.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Question for the OP.  Are the boys getting their work done?  Is the troop running well?  Have you had any actual reports of wrong doing?

For 100 years our goal has been to get boys to work together to run their troops.  Train them, trust them, let them lead is the catch phrase.  Now we're being told adults have to intervene.  There's no faster way to crush the spirit of a group of boys who have bought into the actual vision!  

The policy quoted above is technocentric and technophobic.  Would we demand to see hand written letters between the scouts?  What if they decided to use an encryption technique?   Would policy dictate a key escrow service?  If they all sit together at lunch should a scout leader demand to be invited or will we recruit teachers to spy for us?

These are the policies that will change the BSA from a character development program into a adult driven camping club.

BSA National needs to come down out of their ivory tower, fire all the professors and experts they've brought into their little echo chamber, and get back into the field actually working with boys.

  • Thanks 3
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The policy as written certainly has quite a few holes.  For example - if we cannot have a closed group what about things like email distribution lists which by design are closed systems.  We, as adults just have to use common sense as we apply it.  My interpretation is that the BSA is trying to 1) avoid small group environments where it is possible to issues to occur and 2) have sufficient adult oversight so that the safety of Scouts is maintained.  That's the interpretation I go with.

I get the desire to give the Scouts more freedom from adults.  I wish the BSA could get ahead of this stuff enough to do that.  Given all the youth abuse concerns these days, I don't see how the BSA can without inviting criticism and lawsuits.  Perhaps the BSA could find a way to steer the national conversation towards youth independence and away from more and more safety rules.  However, I suspect it's a topic much bigger than the BSA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, T2Eagle said:

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.

I'm sorry, did you read the reference / source material?   OP asked about a private online forum set up for PLC use and connected to the Troop.    Seems pretty clear (it's not a hypothetical) that this was set up and being done in the name of Scouting.  

From the Scouting wire that outlines not only why but the risks:  

"..To help ensure that all communication on social media channels remains positive and safe, these channels must be public, and all communication on or through them must be public. This enables administrators to monitor all communication and help ensure there is no inappropriate communication between adult leaders and Scouts or between Scouts themselves. Therefore, no private channels (e.g., private Facebook groups or invite-only YouTube channels) are acceptable in helping to administer the Scouting program. Private channels and private communication put both the youth and you at risk. If you feel the information you seek to share via social media channels should not be shared in public, you should not share that information via social media..."

From the Barriers to Abuse:   

"...All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders.

The BSA does not recognize any secret organizations as part of its program..."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, RichardB said:

I'm sorry, did you read the reference / source material?   OP asked about a private online forum set up for PLC use and connected to the Troop.    Seems pretty clear (it's not a hypothetical) that this was set up and being done in the name of Scouting.  

From the Scouting wire that outlines not only why but the risks:  

"..To help ensure that all communication on social media channels remains positive and safe, these channels must be public, and all communication on or through them must be public. This enables administrators to monitor all communication and help ensure there is no inappropriate communication between adult leaders and Scouts or between Scouts themselves. Therefore, no private channels (e.g., private Facebook groups or invite-only YouTube channels) are acceptable in helping to administer the Scouting program. Private channels and private communication put both the youth and you at risk. If you feel the information you seek to share via social media channels should not be shared in public, you should not share that information via social media..."

From the Barriers to Abuse:   

"...All aspects of the Scouting program are open to observation by parents and leaders.

The BSA does not recognize any secret organizations as part of its program..."

 

Note that most of the YPT intent is directed at and intended for Adults to setup barriers for abuse to youth.  Some is there youth to youth, but it is YOUTH Protection

The original post was about chat groups used by youth to youth.  As has been noted, nothing really different than boys talking to boys, just in a new format.  We as leaders cannot be expected to monitor and observe all conversations youth to youth whether they be in person, in notes, on text, PM's, phone calls, conference calls, etc.  Yes it is about the PLC and if the conversation involved bullying or other topics that needed to be addressed, then same as if the conversation was in person, in notes, on text, PM's, phone calls, conference calls, the leaders could address the issue.

If the unit sets up a communication medium (say instagram) then yes that should be moderated, all comments public, etc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

The policy as written certainly has quite a few holes.  For example - if we cannot have a closed group what about things like email distribution lists which by design are closed systems.

According to the horribly written guidelines that Richard linked, we are apparently not supposed to even use email at all:

”Any Scout units that plan to use social media should share the following Internet safety guidelines with Scouts, parents, and leaders, and all Scouts should abide by the following Internet safety guidelines and personal protection rules:

  • Keep online conversations with everyone in public places, not in email.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, shortridge said:
  • Keep online conversations with everyone in public places, not in email.”

First - trying to get a youth to e-mail is tough.  Should be a knot for accomplishing that task.

We just copy another leader / parent and drive on.  That is public and two deep leadership.  Gotta deliver the program right? 

The wizards at National who generate the rules and YPT are governed by lawyers.  There are no people involved in this that have worked with an actual unit in at least the last 10 years.  If the professional group could raise money and earn salaries without having the bothersome youth around, they would be all in for that

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

First - trying to get a youth to e-mail is tough.  Should be a knot for accomplishing that task.

We just copy another leader / parent and drive on.  That is public and two deep leadership.  Gotta deliver the program right? 

The wizards at National who generate the rules and YPT are governed by lawyers.  There are no people involved in this that have worked with an actual unit in at least the last 10 years.  If the professional group could raise money and earn salaries without having the bothersome youth around, they would be all in for that

I won't go that far. I've met a few really passionate and wonderful pros. 

What the YPT rules on communication lack is nuance. Should adults monitor a troop facebook page? Yes. I doubt any of us argue that. 

If there is a facebook or groupme or group text for the plc should troop adults be in on that? Yea. 

If the Scouts make some impromptu group to just shoot the breeze, should adults be in on that? The rules are well intentioned and say yes, but now I'm sitting monitoring the random thoughts of my scouts 24/7. Or they'll ignore the group and chat elsewhere since adults are in the chat. 

If the SPL texts his ASPLs about the meeting this week, should I be in it? According to the rules, yes, but I never insist on that. 

My troop wouldn't be able to operate without email. We teach our scouts to always copy two leaders or their parents when they write to leaders, and we do the same for when we write to them. Any adult who emails them privately is being questionable. 

Where does the troop end and teenagers being friends begin? 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, shortridge said:

According to the horribly written guidelines that Richard linked, we are apparently not supposed to even use email at all:

”Any Scout units that plan to use social media should share the following Internet safety guidelines with Scouts, parents, and leaders, and all Scouts should abide by the following Internet safety guidelines and personal protection rules:

  • Keep online conversations with everyone in public places, not in email.”

Exactly - which is why I figure we have to apply some common sense here.  I'd rather they just write down what they are trying to achieve and let us sort it out. 

Now, if I was being pedantic I'd argue that email is no more a form of social media than a telephone call.

I think most of this boils down to:

  • no one-on-one adult youth interaction.  for adult/youth communication - two adults must be present (two way communication like chat or phone) or copied (one way communication like email/facebook/etc.).
  • in a group communication setting (such as email list or facebook), two adults must be present

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

 If the professional group could raise money and earn salaries without having the bothersome youth around, they would be all in for that

In my experience, they can’t do that very well. That’s why they need to strong arm council and district volunteers to do FOS presentations and beg parents for money.

Anyway, if the Lodge Chief, Chapter Chief and Chief of Ceremonies want to use a group chat or some such to make sure the camp is ready for a Fellowship and all of the Principals have their gear, know their speaking parts and commit to being at camp on time, it’s ok with me and I don’t need to know how they get this done as long as it gets done.

if my Crew Pres, VP, and VP of Activities do the same thing to prepare for an event or outing, good for them. I believe that is the leadership and initiative we are tasked with helping them develop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, an_old_DC said:

In my experience, they can’t do that very well. That’s why they need to strong arm council and district volunteers to do FOS presentations and beg parents for money.

Anyway, if the Lodge Chief, Chapter Chief and Chief of Ceremonies want to use a group chat or some such to make sure the camp is ready for a Fellowship and all of the Principals have their gear, know their speaking parts and commit to being at camp on time, it’s ok with me and I don’t need to know how they get this done as long as it gets done.

if my Crew Pres, VP, and VP of Activities do the same thing to prepare for an event or outing, good for them. I believe that is the leadership and initiative we are tasked with helping them develop.

If your Crew officers are over and under 18 and are communicating privately about an outing or event, all will be well. But when the communication becomes personal or goes off track, those over 18 will be held to the adult standard of no one-on-one communication. I'm still trying to figure out how Crews and Ships are supposed to develop friendships among themselves when an 18-20-year-old can be defined so many ways in the definitions used by the BSA in their official document but use the term "adult leader" in YPT.  It is no longer worth the hassle if a youth has to choose between their friends and Scouting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As others have pointed out, the first priority  for National is covering its legal behind.  

They cannot help but know that some aspects of their policy are simply impossible to follow.  Just how are we as volunteers supposed to stop the scouts from snapchatting, etc?

I really don't think they expect us to follow all these rules, some of which seem completely antithetical to the purpose of scouting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×