The Cyber Chip is the Boy Scouts of America’s online internet safety program. Just like the Whittling Chip teaches the boys how to safely use a pocketknife, the Cyber Chip teaches them how to safely use the internet.
The BSA feels so strongly about internet safety that the Cub Scouts must complete the Cyber Chip in order to earn their rank badge. Bobcat is the only rank that doesn’t require it.
The Cyber Chip requirements vary by grade. The first through third graders have one set of requirements that differs from the fourth and fifth grade set. One of the key differences is that the older boys must discuss acceptable usage of electronics at Scouting events.
Here is the requirement in its entirety: Requirement 4: 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.
A Cub Scout friend and I were talking about this, and we realized that in order for the boys to discuss “acceptable standards and practices,” they needed to know what those are. There was only one little problem. We didn’t know what those were either because we had never defined them.
I decided to take a stab at writing something that I called our Pack Technology Policy. Fancy title for when you can use electronics. 🙂
After consulting with our pack committee and leaders and making changes that they recommended, this is the final policy that was adopted by our pack.
Pack Technology Policy
Cub Scouts should not use electronic devices at Cub Scout meetings and events unless the activity requires the use of them. An example would be using the GPS or an app on a smartphone to go geocaching.
Recognizing that Cub Scout-aged boys are influenced by the behavior of adults, use of electronics by adults is discouraged at Cub Scout meetings and events unless the activity requires the use of them or unless the adult is taking pictures of the event.
We understand that many adults have jobs that require them to take phone calls or check email. There may also be other circumstances in which the use of an electronic device is necessary during Cub Scout events. We ask that if you need to use your device during a meeting, event or a campout, please step away from the boys’ view to do so.
Many of our Cub Scout leaders have younger children who attend Cub Scout meetings. The younger children may use electronics to keep them occupied while their parents and older siblings participate in the Cub Scout activity.
Using technology in Cub Scouting can be appropriate in the right situation, but we want to help the boys learn that they can have fun even without it.
Feel free to use this as a starting point for your pack’s policy. You can download your copy by clicking on this link.
If you already have a technology policy in your pack, I would love to hear what it includes. Leave a comment and let me know!
Yours in Scouting,