There is a section of the BSA Website that recently was created. It is all about the Social Media. This topic came up during a presentation that I gave during the first week of Wood Badge. I have to say that at 43, I am the youngest among that are in my patrol. Also, what I found out is that there are two other Ham Radio Operators, with one who really knows Morse Code very well. So, think communication before Al Gore invented the Internet.
We did use analog communication via radio and then written by paper and US Post Office. Television came later. Telegrams were the
“Instant Messaging” platform of the day. Along with the whole Back In The Day stuff, good and bad news traveled just the same as today, but slower in comparison. It still got around. But not everyone saw photos of us making fools of our selves like they do today.
Now, think of communication in the world of Boy Scouts. Signalling, Ham Radio and Letter writing where big. If meetings were changed a phone tree got triggered. Notes would be sent home with boys, or a notice posted somewhere that everyone read. Even posted in the town newspaper. There was not a text from a Den Leader to the Cubmaster asking a quick question let alone a reply. Think of the people that do not have email or access to the Internet. It now slows communication down.
Today, the youth are fast. Knowledge or the access to areas that contain it, can be accessed faster and right from the classroom. But so is the posting of mis-information.
Now, in Scouting it changes because of Youth Protection. Which, actually is a good thing in general, even for those outside of Scouting.
The main thing that I pointed out to my Patrol is that Social Media also includes EMAIL and that includes Two Deep Leadership. The BSA has this to say about it:
As it relates to social media, two-deep leadership means there should be no private messages and no one-on-one direct contact through email, Facebook messages, Twitter direct messaging, chats, instant messaging (Google Messenger, AIM, etc.), or other similar messaging features provided through social media sites. All communication between adults and youth should take place in a public forum (e.g. the Facebook wall), or at a bare minimum, electronic communication between adults and youth should always include one or more authorized adults openly “copied” (included) on the message or message thread.
One of my Patrol Members asked does this apply to the Scouts that I am their Merit Badge Counselor for? They email me stuff to show that they have completed parts of the MB. I replied, yes it does and gave this example. Our Pack has Den Chiefs. Two to be exact. I explained that in no uncertain circumstances are you to email them directly. The Den Leaders need to copy another Adult in on that communication. I would include their Mom/Dad, myself and or the Scoutmaster. This will do two things, keep the Cubmaster/Scoutmaster involved in how the Den Chief is doing and also maintain Two Deep Leadership. I said this because our Cubscouts do not email. If they do, it’s generally on our accounts to grandparents.
This open eyes in ways that they did not think of. Was that wrong? No. They were thinking that Two-deep leadership was in the physical world and not digital.
While I am not going to re-hash what the guidelines of Facebook, Twitter and other media sites state for what they consider good conduct, nor am I going to post the BSA Guidelines verbatium and talk about them point for point. You can read them for yourself.
What I am going to say is that because of these is that I do limit and watch what I say when interacting with Scout Youth and Youth in general. I generally know who I friend on Facebook. Within Twitter, it is open and people can follow me if they want. I have tighened down all my security on Facebook and check it every so often. I cannot on Twitter. Though, I could protect my account, but then people cannout find me. I want people to find me on twitter. As for this blog, I keep it clean and only talk about mainly Scouting related items. Once and awhile about my family.
Overall, as Scouts, Scouters and Parents of Scouts we need to be careful of what we do on the Internet and how we interact with Scouts as they interact with us. It very well could be a quick text or email to them about a PLC meeting, work on a merit badge or a number of thing. Point being, because we are in Scouts there are a set of rules we need to learn and live by.