With BSA’s new Cyber Chip, online safety’s the point

The patch comes in blue for Cub Scouts and green for Boy Scouts, Venturers, Varsity Scouts, and Sea Scouts.

Kids spend more than 7.5 hours a day using some kind of electronic device, according to a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study.

In other words, if they’re awake and not at school, they’re probably online.

Whatever their reason for logging on — school project, merit badge research, socializing, games — safety is never guaranteed.

That’s why the Boy Scouts of America’s new Cyber Chip, announced last week, is a big step in the right direction in the effort to keep kids safe online. And because June is National Internet Safety Month, the timing couldn’t be better.

In developing this new Youth Protection tool, the BSA teamed up with content expert NetSmartz, part of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as well as training experts for different law enforcement agencies.

The Cyber Chip joins the Totin’ Chip and Whittling Chip as important safety tools your Scouts should earn and carry with them. Bonus: The pocket patch they get, designed to look like a smartphone, is unlike any official BSA patch I’ve ever seen.

Have your Scouts earn their Cyber Chip ASAP. Here’s how:

The Cyber Chip

  1. Visit the BSA Cyber Chip Web site to find requirements organized by grade (1-3, 4-5, 6-8, and 9-12)
  2. Visit the NetSmartz Cyber Chip portal, designed specifically for the BSA
  3. Order the cards and patches from ScoutStuff or at your local Scout Shop:
    • Cyber Chip pocket card (grades 1-5)
    • Cyber Chip pocket card (grades 6-12)
    • Cyber Chip patch (grades 1-5)
    • Cyber Chip patch (grades 6-12)
    • Power Pack Pals (bullying), No. 33979
    • Power Pack Pals (bullying; Spanish), No. 33980
    • Power Pack Pals (Internet safety), No. 33981
    • Power Pack Pals (Internet safety; Spanish), No. 34464
  4. Tailor the requirements to your own unit rules. Complete the Cyber Chip as a unit at a regular meeting, then hand out the cards and patches on the spot.
  5. Review the resources available on the website, including teaching materials, an implementation guide, and more.
  6. All Cyber Chips expire annually. Each Scout will need to “recharge” the chip by going back to the NetSmartz Recharge area.
  7. Download a print-ready PDF summarizing the Cyber Chip.

Related blog post

Read about how other Scouters set their unit’s electronics policy.

What do you think?

How can the appropriate use of technology by Scouts make the Scouting program better? Leave your thought below.