Today’s youth are spending more time than ever using digital media for education, research, socializing, and fun. To help families and volunteers keep youth safe while online, the BSA expects scouts to hold a current Cyber Chip for their grade level. After completing the requirements for their current grade level, the BSA expects Scouts to “recharge” their Cyber Chip annually (approx. 5-10 minutes).
Family Electronics Contract
Scouts in Grades 6-12 all must complete the following requirement:
Write and sign a personalized contract with your parent or guardian that outlines rules for using the computer and mobile devices, including what you can download, what you can post, and consequences for inappropriate use.
The best contracts are personalized to your family. However, not every family has the time or interest to create custom contracts. If you would like to adopt a pre-existing template that is “good enough,” here are a few that cover some of the most important/common areas:
- Best short/one-page cell phone contract (iMom)
- Best two-way (parent/child) family contract for internet use (iMom)
- Most comprehensive basic smartphone contract (TeenSafe)
- Scout agreement based on The Scout Law and Cybersafety/Cyberbulling (BSA)
Some good examples of personalized contracts that other families have published online:
- Carrie Goldman’s Family Cell Phone & Technology Use Contract
- An iPhone Contract from Greg’s Mom, with Love
- Marti Weston’s Cell Phone Contract
Creating a good contract is not easy. And expecting parents and teens to read each other’s minds to anticipate the most important elements is unreasonable. If you’d like to write your own contract, but don’t know where to start, here is a “cut and paste” Word document with suggestions from over a dozen contracts found online. It is roughly categorized by topic. There are clearly too many options available in this document, and some are redundant (worded slightly differently in ways that might suit your family better or not). You are welcome to use it as a launching pad to cover the points most important to your family.
Some characteristics of a good family electronics usage contract:
- Created jointly by parents and children, in agreement
- Age appropriate and addresses the matters most important to your family
- Is no longer than 2 pages
- Signed by both parent and child
Good luck! And happy (and safe!) surfing!
All Cyber Chips will expire annually. Scouts who have already completed the Cyber Chip for their current grade will need to “recharge” the chip by going back to the Netsmartz site and completing activities. Moreover, the BSA recognizes that older scouts may be exposed to different dangers online as their online activity and engagement with new adults changes as they get older. As such, scouts are expected to repeat this exercise at least once in their scouting career to achieve Scout and Star ranks, along with the exercises from How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse).
**RESOURCES COMING SOON