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How would you handle pornography found at meetings/campouts?


These kids today have many more ways to get this stuff and hide it than ever before. They can store this stuff on their media players, after downloading it from the 'Net, as well as it being sent to their cell phones by their friends, girl friends via "sexting", which is sending nude pictures of themselves to others.


Does your pack/troop/crew have a no pornography policy?


How would you handle this, other than banning these electronic devices?




(edited for content)(This message has been edited by PeteM)

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Litmus test: does it fall outside the Scout Law?


For porno, the answer is clear - yes.


Therefore, a Scout has no business being in possession at any Scout activity.


Response? An immediate Scoutmasters Conference with all involved. Discuss how inappropriate it is and how it falls far outside of the Scout Law. Confiscate the phone and return after the activity with a warning to never do it again. Depending on the Scout and frequency of other similar incidents, parental involvement may or may not be appropriate.


Full Troop involvement will depend on how wide spread it is. Sometimes it's good to discuss it with everyone, sometimes better to keep it to those actually doing the peeking.


I wouldn't be too shocked - now it's cell phones, back in the day it was Playboy and similar magazines hidden under the sleeping bag.


But our response should be no different than it was back then - pornography is inappropriate for any Scout activity. Any the question to the involved Scout would be, "Do you understand that, or do I need to call your parents?"


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Call their parents (or make them call their parents) and send them home from the meeting. No warnings, etc, about "next time." I sure would be upset if my kid were bringing this sort of material to a scouting function and the adults in charge did NOT tell me about it. SM and parent should be a team and that only happens if parents are kept in the loop.


No, I have not been part of any scouting unit that had such a policy. None was needed. Everybody knows that is inappropriate at a scouting event.

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A definite call to the parents is warranted, SM conference also. I might add that the youth, depending upon jurisdiction, could be committing a felony for storing the sexting images, it fall under kiddie porn charges from the cases I've read about, so that they will have to register as a sex offender for a very long time.


Reviewing the Scout Oath and Law is also in order.


Hopefully the scout{s} parents won't take it as lightly as the ones I had to deal with. They thought it was funny.

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In my day, all we had was Playboy magazine hidden in a knapsack. And back then, Playboy was no worse than today's "17", Cosmopolitan or Maxim.


Then our Explorer Post went co-ed, and we didn't need magazines ;-).


I am against policies for everything. Then you send a message that those issues without policies are OK.


How about inviting a Police Officer or attorney to a meeting to explain the ramifications.

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This is related to language skills as well. Every few years we'll get a complaint about someone's new scout having learned new vocabulary at scout camp or something like that. And once in a long while I'll learn a new word as well.


When we meet with the new parents we try to communicate how we will respond to something like this. Just so they know it's possible and what to expect if it does happen. The reponse depends (and should depend) on the infraction and the context. The sexting and similar things aren't a problem for the troop because cell phones, etc. are not allowed (see the other thread on cell phones as a necessity of life). The only time we allow electronics is for long trips. We try to monitor that stuff but then it is locked in a secure place once at destination.

For normal activities, this leaves only spoken words and printed material as a potential medium.


We had a couple of situations with 'new vocabulary' and some bawdy songs on a long trip. Result: talk to the boys about how it is perceived by others, about how 'fun' can be viewed as offensive, etc. and, depending on what the infraction is, maybe a discussion of how this stuff degrades ourselves when we engage in it (that's probably not going to get through to many of the boys). If we found a Playboy or something like that, we'd confiscate it let the scout live in total terror as to what we'd do with it after the leaders finished reading (oops, I mean examining) it. We'd probably deliver it and the boy to Mom and let her know the context, etc.

A long time ago another troop I knew mooned a bunch of towns on their way back from the beach on Sunday morning riding in the clearly-marked church bus. That still brings a tear to my eyes. We had a couple of boys writing rude things and posting them in the window as signs to other traffic from our church bus. They spent the remainder of the trip thinking of what they were going to write in their letters of apology to the church minister.


So far, we've not had (or at least we're unaware of it) anything hard core to worry about. We try to reserve that stuff just for the leaders. ;)

I remember well what it was like growing up. They just have more ways of expressing themselves and sharing the forbidden fruit.

Of course we ban the stuff. That's part of what helps make it so thrilling.

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As we speak, you're not currently at an outing / activity where this is taking place. Therefore, I would start with a discussion about the Scout Oath and Law. Having a police officer do a presentation is a great idea as well.


Going forward, zero tolerance. If a magazine is involved, confiscate, SM Conference, call parents to pick junior up. If a cell phone and possibly sexting involved, I'm not sure I would confiscate (looking at a potential felony here and I don't want to be accused of oogling pics of a scouts girlfriend). Definitely call parents and send home.


Repeat offenders, don't know the rules on this one but would likely remove from scouting.

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The problem is Pete that if you allow electronic devices on trips there is instant access to porno sites for those boys who think they are getting away with something. One idea is when you get to the campsite have the boys turn over all their electronics to you for the duration, if you have a solid program planned they really shouldn't need them anyway. In the evening you can, if you want, let the boys have an hour or two with their electronics but then have them turn them back to you. If they have an emergency or need to check in at home you can make exceptions. I have done this as a scoutmaster and crew advisor and we have NEVER had a problem and the kids seem to be more focused on the activities and less on the electronic dependency.

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Our troop discipline policy begins with the Scout Oath and Law. Clearly this is a violation.

The kid's parents would immediately be called to pick him up. Hopefully this would all take place very late at night and several hours away from home.


Back at the ranch, we would consider the situation before deciding on a course of action. Generally, the SM (me) makes a recommendation to the troop committee as to what the consequences would be. Without knowing any other circumstances, I would be inclined to consider a short/medium-terms suspension and a longer term probation.

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Sorry... you'd need to define the 'pornography' and the context before I could comment.


Sexting / internet - confiscate electronics (better yet, don't have them at events anyways), call parents and turn Jr and offensive material over to mom and dad, let them deal with it. Last thing I need is an accusation that I as an adult leader was 'looking' at a scout's naked girlfriend on his iPhone.


Print media - confiscate, again turn over to mom and dad, let them deal w/ it.


Language, symbols, hand-signals, cartoons, hand drawings, etc... I'd start w/ a "knock it off", followed by a SM conference with the offender.


My point is - there's a BIG difference between surfing for hard core porn on an iPhone, a scout showing up at camp with a Playboy / Maxim magazine, and a scout drawing a rough 'nude' stick figure in the sand with a stick. I'd make the case that there is a HUGE difference in the type of print media alone. SI swimsuit issue is not the same as a Hustler, etc... How you react to each and the discipline that follows should not be universal.


Any occurances would be a very good reason to have a group discussion about porn, the dangers involved, WHY its offensive to some, WHY its contrary to the scout law and oath, how it can affect a man's view of women and the impact of that, why it is or is not degrading, etc...


If I ever suspected sexting, camera phone issues, etc... (heck even if you didn't suspect it), perhaps it would be a good topic for a police officer to cover BEFORE its an issue... make it part of the annual YPG training (it could happen to me - type thing).


While serious, most teens don't understand until its too late how much trouble sexting can be. Back when I was a kid, it was the 19 y/o who knocked up his 17 y/o girlfriend and got charged with child rape. Now its kids getting charged w/ proliferation of child porn. They need to be informed of the risk, best if that can happen BEFORE an incidence occurs.


We teach fire safety, we teach totin' chip, we teach water safety. We do not wait until a scout gets burned, cut, or drowns to address the issue. I say be positive and proactive and it should be a non-issue for the unit.


With that said - any blatant disregard or repeat issue would be grounds for explusion from the unit. That decision, I would task to the unit committee.

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I know that there is a lot of controversary on what should be limited. Here is a simple one on printed material. If it is limited sales, Meaning you need to be 18 to purchase then it should be considered banned. I know Maxin, FHM and Stuff are kind of borderline, but last time I looked, they were not restricted sales.


As for the phone issue, well I think this just goes to support what a lot of people said in another thread about cell phone restrictions. Just one more piece of evidence where they should not be allowed. This is a serious issue. Our school system gives all students 6th grade and up and all teachers laptops for study and stuff. Some used them to make pornographic videos. The student sent in the wrong file as homework and a teacher got it as an attachment. It almost cost the whole system their computers. It was a big deal and they wee thinking about charging the students with distribution of child pornography. They were all underage.


Anyway I know that the scouts will keep trying, but we need to be vigilant in protecting our youth.

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