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Cyber Chip going away?

I heard a rumor that BSA will be dropping Cyber Ship soon. So what will replace it? Hopefully not the Protect Yourself Rules Preview Adventure, as it includes nothing about online safety. I agree NetSmartz content isn’t the best, but that shouldn’t mean BSA should get rid of online safety altogether. It just means the content should come from a different source.

In today’s hype-connected world where kids are online all the time, something like Cyber Chip is needed now more than ever. And whatever replaces it should also include a piece about griefing, which ties directly to points 3-6 of the Scout Law.

Who can I contact to share my concerns with before any changes go into effect?

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You might try reaching out to advancement.team@scouting.org. Those are the folks who handle advancement questions not already answered in the Guide to Advancement.

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The announced plan is for the Protect Yourself Rules adventures to replace Cyber Chip in the future.

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There are also sometimes advanced warning of upcoming changes in Advancement News, which is available here:

Even if the decision is already made to replace Cyber Chip with the preview adventure, the various adventures have certainly evolved over time. There could be value in proposing additional material to be covered related specifically to online safety/'netiquette.

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Protect Yourself doesn’t replace cyber chip for any age, the content doesn’t overlap.

It does overlap the parent child safety booklet.

I would recommend ignoring BSA rules on this and holding a combo internet safety + anti bullying program at the cub scout age

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We can’t add or subtract requirements for rank, so I am concerned about this idea.

This is a great idea in any case.

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They aren’t the same as the Cyber Chip, but:

The Protect Yourself Rules Preview Adventures may be used as an elective adventure OR they may be earned in place of the Cyber Chip requirement for the Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Arrow of Light badges of rank. If used in place of the Cyber Chip requirement for a rank, it may not be used as an elective adventure for that rank.

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That’s what I was afraid of. It means BSA will be dropping all content covering online safety. I can’t see how that is a change for the better. If anything, there should be more discussion about proper behavior online, not less. I just asked my 9-year old son if he was ever taught about griefing in school - which is essentially electronic bullying - and he said “never”.

Omitting any discussion of good netiquette essentially ignores the mission of scouting:

“The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.”

We instill the values of the Oath and Law in our kids, but some of them might not understand how those values relate to their behavior online. Scouts is the perfect forum for addressing those issues.

Lest we forget the aims of scouting:

“Character, Citizenship, Personal Fitness, and Leadership”

Character, citizenship, and leadership, as expressed online, is a big issue nowadays. Cyber bullying, gossiping, spreading rumors, attacking people’s character on social media, using other’s content without permission or proper citation, software piracy/hacking, griefing (bad sportsmanship in online gaming) - we shouldn’t just assume our children will know what’s acceptable and what isn’t when it comes to those issues.

NetSmartz was far from perfect. Indeed, some of it was pretty bad. But we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. We need to IMPROVE the Cyber Chip, not throw it away and pretend these issues won’t effect our kids.

@jacobfetzer can you sympathize with what I’m saying? Will sending an email to the address @CharleyHamilton provided be my best recourse? What else can I do? I’d like to get ahead of this before any official announcements are made about BSA dropping Cyber Chip.

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I agree. Just because the videos became dated, doesn’t mean they should throw up their hands and drop it.

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Ok I just found the references to online safety in the Webelos and AOL versions of the Protect Yourself Rules adventure. I guess the thinking is it that Wolves and Bears have no exposure to online threats. That’s a mistake in my opinion. My son (bear) just asked me the other day if it was ok to share his age with people he interacts with in online games. And the cyber stuff that is included is pretty light. I like the worksheets in the Webelos and AOL versions, but has anyone else noticed how there is no guidance for leaders in the meeting plans? For example, no guidance is given about whether a picture should be uploaded to a Webelos’ online profile (the answer should be “No!”).

Then, the instructions are contradictory. The plan tells leaders to “Instruct Webelos Scouts to fill in all the information they can for their profiles.” But the worksheet says “Fill out ONLY the parts you
would feel comfortable putting online.” That’s confusing.

Both versions mention cyber-bullying, but both fall short. Nothing is mentioned about good sportsmanship in online gaming. Nothing is mentioned about giving proper attribution to others’ digital property. And what about learning to recognize trusted sources of information before unwittingly spreading false info found on the web? Suddenly, I miss NetSmartz’ Geko’s Goof!

The “Refusal Skills” worksheet in the AOL adventure is quite good. But again, the meeting plan lacks guidance for leaders. And I’m not sure I like how cyber safety segment is sandwiched in with the inappropriate touching and shout-run-tell stuff. Online safety really warrants its own topic. What we really need is a dedicated adventure for online safety…something like the Cyber Chip.

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@MichaelK I generally agree with you. I merely stated what we’ve been told, and nothing of my personal opinion. I’ll be sending an email to the same address @CharleyHamilton provided.

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Michael,

Your comments are excellent. The BSA does not monitor these forums. Please provide feedback to the Protect Yourself Rules team via the Feedback button at the bottom of The Protect Yourself Rules Preview Adventure

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Use the feedback button at the bottom. The survey at the top does not give any opportunity for comments.

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I always thought the Cyber Chip was a decent idea, but executed very poorly and it seemed like the odd requirement compared to all the other things. It was a permanent requirement, but it didn’t have a permanent physical badge like other awards or requirements. It hangs from the pocket, where it shares a rotation with many temporary badges. It treats Grades 1-3 as the same, which is something the Protect Yourself Rules handles better by tailoring the program to each program year. For kids who have no online exposure, the Cyber Chip seems pointless IMO and the Protect Yourself Rules adventure is better designed and more effective than telling parents “read this booklet with your kids” and promise that you talked about it with them.

I think that in the future the Protect Yourself Rules adventure could easily replace the booklet. I don’t know if they would make rank specific versions of the loops or not. I also think that it is very likely that there will be a “Online Safety/Behavior” adventure for each Cub Scout Level in the future with a permanent loop. But it is also something that could easily be included in future overall revisions to the individual adventures. Citizenship at home, at school, and online as an example.

As for which program is better right now, I think it really depends on the kids and their environment. For my Tiger Den I talked to the parents and told them that they know what their kids are doing better than me and that I would leave it up to them to decide which one they want to complete. We did Protect Yourself Rules as a den activity, and I also encouraged parents to complete it at home with the kids of they couldn’t (or didn’t want to) make it to the meeting. If their kids do anything online (Facebook, Minecraft, Fortnite, etc) I encouraged them to complete the Cyber Chip as well.

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jacobfetzer where did you see the plan for “Protect Yourself Rules adventures to replace Cyber Chip in the future”? Thanks

Announcement Article

The Protect Yourself Rules Adventure

It may be used as an elective or it can be earned in place of the Cyber Chip requirement for various ranks. This adventure will become required.

Before working on this adventure, the den leader should review Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse.

Related discussion topics

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Terrible idea. Eliminating the Cyber Chip is another example of how the BSA is watering down and diluting scout requirements. Protect Yourself does not address internet safety. What knucklehead at National gets credit for that idea?
Online safety needs to be a standalone topic.
Regardless of whether or not our young scouts have a FB account, they still need to receive some internet safety guidelines.
Leaders, with parent support, should continue to teach online safety despite the BSA’s drive to eliminate this important and relevant issue.

I hate the cyber chip and most Scout do too. They get better material in school

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@MichaelMcGehearty, I’ve heard it directly from Anthony Berger, the National Cub Scouts Director.

In addition, it’s not too hard to connect the dots:

  1. @Bill_W’s reference above that it will become required
  2. The current placement of PYR as an alternative to CC
  3. BSA specific content has disappeared off the netsmartz site
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In my area, schools don’t cover online safety very much. I like the concept behind the Cyber Chip.

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