Some successes just can’t be quantified.
Like this one: We’ll never know just how many Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers have avoided online harm because of lessons learned while earning the Cyber Chip.
That’s because in those cases the Cyber Chip helped young people end potentially harmful situations before they could begin. Thank goodness.
The Cyber Chip, introduced in 2012, joins the Totin’ Chip and Whittling Chip as important safety tools your Scouts should earn and carry with them.
Requirements for the Cyber Chip are separated into four groups — grades 1-3, grades 4-5, grades 6-8 and grades 9-12 — meaning young men and young women get content that’s appropriate for them.
Two years into its life, the Cyber Chip is being hailed as a great success. The team that volunteer Scott Berger and BSA professional Janice Downey led two years ago, plus their partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and its NetSmartz website, have paid off.
And though we don’t know the number of harmful situations avoided because of the Cyber Chip, there is something we can quantify.
Jim Wilson, chairman of the BSA’s National Youth Protection Committee, recently told me the NetSmartz website gets more of its traffic from scouting.org than any other site out there. In fact, scouting.org sites are responsible for more than twice as much referral traffic as the next closest site.
What’s the takeaway?
“Our folks are getting the message that we are teamed with a great source of materials,” Wilson says.
He’s absolutely right. We’re lucky to have NCMEC as a partner, especially when looking at their online Scouting portal that showcases Cyber Chip resources, including grade-specific videos.
Cyber Chip becoming more and more important
These days, earning the Cyber Chip is more than just a recommendation. For some merit badges, it’s required.
For example: The first requirement for the new Digital Technology merit badge is for a Scout to earn the Cyber Chip. Same goes for Programming merit badge.
No discussion of safety would be complete without reminding adult leaders that Youth Protection training is mandatory. If yours isn’t updated, click here to fix that.
The BSA will never stop working to protect youth. With that in mind, stay tuned for more important Youth Protection announcements in the coming months.
Photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by William Hook