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I am not new to Scouting but......


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I thought someone here with more knowledge than me might know.  Does it state in the Scout Handbook or the Troop Leaders handbooks that scouts may not have cell phones?  I cannot find it, but we were told by a certain leader that this is the case. 

Let me be clear that I have no problem with cell phones not being allowed if it is announced ahead of time.  I do have a problem with a leader that takes my son's phone when he didn't have it out and she made him (and the rest) dig it out of their bags.  These are all high school age boys at a high adventure camp and they had them for pictures as we were told there was no cell phone reception.  And now there are few pictures and the parents were in the dark about what was going on for nearly a week.  I would just like to know where this is the handbook for my own sanity.  Thanks!

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7 minutes ago, ShutterbugMom said:

Does it state in the Scout Handbook or the Troop Leaders handbooks that scouts may not have cell phones? 

Not that I know of. That said, every unit I know bans them except during travel time. We also let the parents and others know ahead of time, from the start actually when they come into the troop, that is our policy.

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Cyberchip requires the following:

  1. Discuss with your unit leader the acceptable standards and practices for using allowed electronic devices, such as phones and games, at your meetings and other Scouting events.

 

So, it is a unit decision.  There is nothing in the Scout Handbook or Troop Leader handbook that I have ever seen that bans cell phones.  

Our unit allows cell phones for photos (and have for years).  We also added the option to use phones for scouting applications (such as looking up merit badge books, info, etc.) and weather reports.  It is a tool like a knife, rope, etc.  Each unit can have their own policy.

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This is how scouting urban legends begin. To clarify, no, there is no rule in any BSA documentation that says a scout can't have a cell phone. The shirts used to have pockets to hold phones. If the troop wants to prohibit them that's another issue. However, other than crazies like me who like nice cameras, people use cell phones for cameras. It sounds like a dumb decision from this adult.

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There is no ban.  My favorite humor on this is the national Jamboree depended on scouts having cell phones. 

It's a 50/50.  Some allow.  Some don't.  All say to use appropriately.  In our troop, it was don't use the cell phone at the detriment of program or socializing with other scouts.  We asked adults to follow the same standards as the scouts.  We absolutely would not make the scouts search their gear and we would absolutely not collect phones.  It's really not a good way to grow a connection with scouts or to treat them as mature, responsible people    

 

Edited by fred8033
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On 6/18/2021 at 10:33 AM, Eagle1993 said:

Cyberchip requires the following:

  1. Discuss with your unit leader the acceptable standards and practices for using allowed electronic devices, such as phones and games, at your meetings and other Scouting events.

 

So, it is a unit decision.  There is nothing in the Scout Handbook or Troop Leader handbook that I have ever seen that bans cell phones.  

Our unit allows cell phones for photos (and have for years).  We also added the option to use phones for scouting applications (such as looking up merit badge books, info, etc.) and weather reports.  It is a tool like a knife, rope, etc.  Each unit can have their own policy.

I have this discussion with Scouts when they are earning their Cyber Chip.  Here is the gist:

If what you are doing with your device would violate any part of the Scout Oath or Law, don't it.  Now, Johnny, let's talk about some examples...

1.  The SPL says bed time is 10 pm.  I do a walk-around at 10:15 and see the blue glow of your device through your tent.  What part of the Scout Oath or Law applies?

2.  Your patrol mate is giving a talk on how to pack a backpack, and you are playing a game or watching a video on your phone.  What part of the Scout Oath or Law applies?

3.  You are texting another person and use foul language or call them a name. What part of the Scout Oath or Law applies?

Please, for the love of God, do not come up with some laundry list of do's and don'ts with devices.  You can measure EVERYTHING against the yardstick of the Scout Oath and Law.

This is how we build character.

This is the way.

P.S.  First incident is behavior correction/warning.  Next is confiscation until end of event or outing, and a discussion with parents.  Next is you don't get to come on the next outing, and we look at circumstances to determine if this affects your advancement.  (Only reached this point once, with full support of Troop committee and understanding of Scout's parents.)  Now the culture is in place...

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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Thank you for all the replies.  I am glad to hear it isn't in the scout handbook and I am thankful most of the units let them use them responsibly.  I feel like that is the best course of action.  They are usually banned in our unit but we were told that they could take them for SeaBase.  I am very disappointed this leader took it upon herself to take them from the boys and none of the other three leaders stood up to her and told her it had already been discussed that they could have them.  So, most of the boys had NO cameras.  My son had a waterproof camera and did take pictures, but there is only one underwater selfie of him and one the captain took of him from the side.  I am so disappointed to not have more pictures to make him a photo book.  But this is an important point for me to bring up at the planning meeting, and I will also suggest they start trusting the kids with the phones according to the scout law.

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1 hour ago, ShutterbugMom said:

I will also suggest they start trusting the kids with the phones according to the scout law.

You might check first to see if your Chartered Organization has a cell phone use policy.  

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The challenge we had with cell phones was that it limited actual social interaction.  A few years back it was did not want to see them out, use them for music in the tent, etc.  As leaders we did not want to be the cell phone police.   It was a decision that worked for us.  With no phones there were more group games, short hikes, cornhole games, and group interaction than a bunch of Scouts hunched around phones.

Basically we do not allow them at meetings or actually at the outing.  To and from yes.  If we are someplace that may be of photo value absolutely.  Scouts leave them in glove compartments of cars or in a box we have.  Had one Scout working on a PE class for school last week at summer camp, he came and got it, did his work and exercise thing, dropped it back off.  We even lent him some battery power to charge.

Edited by Jameson76
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2 hours ago, David CO said:

You might check first to see if your Chartered Organization has a cell phone use policy.  

I checked on that right away and they said it was up to the Troop.

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20 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

The challenge we had with cell phones was that it limited actual social interaction.  A few years back it was did not want to see them out, use them for music in the tent, etc.  As leaders we did not want to be the cell phone police.   It was a decision that worked for us.  With no phones there were more group games, short hikes, cornhole games, and group interaction than a bunch of Scouts hunched around phones.

Basically we do not allow them at meetings or actually at the outing.  To and from yes.  If we are someplace that may be of photo value absolutely.  Scouts leave them in glove compartments of cars or in a box we have.  Had one Scout working on a PE class for school last week at summer camp, he came and got it, did his work and exercise thing, dropped it back off.  We even lent him some battery power to charge.

That sounds how I would expect it.....using it for what it is needed for.  Not for video games or social media.  (My scout does not have social media.)  But for information, scout skills and taking pictures I would be in favor of it.  

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1 hour ago, Jameson76 said:

,,, Basically we do not allow them at meetings or actually at the outing.  To and from yes.  If we are someplace that may be of photo value absolutely.  Scouts leave them in glove compartments of cars or in a box we have. ...

I'm really okay with that ... IF  ... seriously IF ... you apply the same rule to the adults.  Otherwise, it's just hypocrisy. 

I've heard enough that adults need phones for other responsibilities like staying in contact with the family at home.  The reality I've seen is it's really much more close to the exact reason the scouts want their phones too and the parents often want them to have their phones.  Check web sites.  Text friends and family.  Be reachable.  ... I have a serious issue with setting expectations for the scouts that the adults won't follow.  

IMHO, I'd rather see us teach the scouts to be responsible; use the phone as a productive tool and not a reason to hide from other people.

Edited by fred8033
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Cell phones....  True story....  

CSDC.  I have the Nature Pavilion.   On day one, we do "Leave No Trace" (Outdoor Ethics). After passing out the LNT hanger cards (thanks to Protect the Outdoors - Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics (lnt.org)  and some stories about Unintended Consequences ("I thought I put out the fire", )  I had the Cubs and their buddies each lineup by a corner of the pavilion, and take  200 steps out, turn 90 degrees, walk 50 steps, turn 90 degrees and walk back to the pavilion and on the way, pick up ANYTHING "God didn't put there".   After the day, I was (not really) surprised at the pile of trash and human debris we collected. And the park was cleaner.

At one session, during the walk, one of the adult Den Walkers was in the background on her cell:  "I can't BELIEVE I said I'd do this.  I know SOMEBODY else could do this Den Walker thing... Yeah, but I dread the amount of work I'll have next monday.  It doesn't matter to Jake, it could be ANY... " and she went on for the three minutes the Cubs were out...  

I sometimes wish we might go back to only in person telegram delivery....   

"Ahoy, ahoy?  No , this is ONE. You want two. Yes, that's right. Two.  You're welcome, Goodbye."

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To keep this short...every previous post is spot on.  Some of us older folks are cyber-immigrants that had to learn that language and use.  Scouts today are cyber-natives that had cyber-use before they could make a sentence.  One great example is an app that once you take a photo of a leaf, it tells the name of the plant.  The other example is quick ID of anything live or dangerous.  

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6 hours ago, Double Eagle said:

To keep this short...every previous post is spot on.  Some of us older folks are cyber-immigrants that had to learn that language and use.  Scouts today are cyber-natives that had cyber-use before they could make a sentence.  One great example is an app that once you take a photo of a leaf, it tells the name of the plant.  The other example is quick ID of anything live or dangerous.  

And boy, try and understand the time effort and work that went into THAT.   photos, Identify, shape recognition,  dentured or not, color, leaf orientation, ,,,

A five year old human should be able to identify any English alphabet letter, no matter how it is oriented, sized, type face, slanted, italicized or colored.  Same for a Chinese child, but wow....  the pictogram collection there.  And the IT folks are having fun making sure the App can differentiate Poison Ivy from Raspberry or Jack in the Pulpit.

Back in my pre-retirement days,  I was tasked with collecting various destinations (libraries, election precinct sites, museums, historic trails , parks, ) and listing the bus/metro routes to get there from here.  Drudgery, but useful drudgery so I was told.  That led to the computer gadget that did the same thing.....  

 

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