Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse apply in cyberspace:
Youth Protection policies extend into cyberspace. There should be no one-on-one online or digital activities (games, social media, etc.) or electronic communications. Leaders should include or copy a parent or another leader in all online communications, ensuring no one-on-one contact exists in text, social media or other forms of online or digital communication.
Our partners at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) NetSmartz Workshop program advise us child predators are knowledgeable about BSA’s polices regarding two-deep leadership and no one-on-one contact. As a result, they seek interactions with youth in cyberspace where youth interact with each other and are usually unsupervised by parents (i.e., gaming, chat rooms, etc.)
As a safety precaution to protect youth and leaders, we require all interactions (e.g., texting, email, instant messaging, etc.) to be copied to a parent or other registered leader. While we understand that this may present a challenge to some, we feel that safe interactions are of prime concern.
As a reminder, all leaders should be providing the Cyber Chip program to Scouting youth so that they may be better able to recognize, respond to and report inappropriate activity to the CyberTipline (1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678)) and local Scout executive. To help families and volunteers keep youth safe while online, the BSA introduced the Cyber Chip.
We also recommend that Eagle Scout coaches who are selected by units become registered. By registering these key leaders in the growth of our Scouts, they would then be properly vetted through background checks and would be required to take Youth Protection training. What better way to ensure the safety of all our youth, than by asking all adults involved with the advancement of these Scouts to be a part of our safety programs?
NCMEC suggests that leaders and parents of Scouts check out the following NetSmartz website and tip sheet that provide helpful information on safe cell phone usage:
Thank you for considering Youth Protection policies as you work to create a fun program.