It is the policy of our Scout Section that mobile phones must not be taken on camps, activities or to weekly meetings unless specifically authorised in advance for camera work or see below*.
The reasons for this are two fold:
1) Within the rules of the Scout Association, we have a strict procedure for contacting parents or the relevant authorities should accidents or problems arise at a meeting, on an activity or camp. Mobile phones can compromise this procedure.
Every meeting/camp/activity has an official telephone number for you to contact (in the event of an emergency) the meeting/camp/activity leader. The meeting/camp/activity leader is also able to contact parents, either directly or via a home contact, should the need arise.
A mobile phone gives scouts the opportunity to contact their parents directly, bypassing the role of leaders. Undue distress may be caused on the part of the parent and/or their child concerning incidents leaders may know nothing about. This particularly applies to cases of homesickness. It is important that scouts use a leader as their first point of contact for any concerns or problems they have, so that the leader team can work to resolve these issues. Leaders will then arrange to contact parents via the official channels as and when necessary.
2) Now that most mobile phones have cameras and internet access, there is the potential for actions taken by scouts, however innocent the intent, to be misinterpreted, leading unintentionally to Child Protection issues. This is particularly true if photographs are taken without consent or are inappropriate and then subsequently broadcast on social networks.
Parents can help us avoid these problems by ensuring their scout does not arrive for a meeting, camp or activity with their mobile phone. If a scout is found using a mobile phone, they will be withdrawn and you will be asked to collect them immediately. The safety of every scout is the responsibility of the leaders and they will always have their own form of emergency contact, should problems arise. Scouts should not take on this responsibility.
Mobile phones can also become a source of disruption by taking calls, texting, playing games or listening to music. This makes it very difficult to run an exciting, educational and safe programme.
*We are aware that some scouts arrive for meetings alone and parents wish them to carry mobile phones for safety reasons. In this specific situation, please:
1. Advise the leader in advance.
2. Ensure that the scout is told that their ‘phone is to be handed in to a leader at the start of the evening (switched off). They will be stored and returned at the end of the meeting.
If you wish to discuss any matters arising from this policy, please speak to the scout leader, who will be happy to advise further.”