| Limitless knowledge is at our fingertips...
The world of technology is wide and rapidly evolving. At no point in human history have we had so much access to such an unfathomable number of topics. An intrepid young Scout can use the Internet to advance their knowledge in science, learn more about historical figures, get help with math homework, socialize with friends, or enhance the study of a Scouting objective. A Scout can can go online and watch videos on knot tying or they can take courses on how to program their own apps and web pages. The sky is the limit to a young Scout with ambition.
...but so is danger
For all of its boons, there are an equal number of dangers to be found online. Every age group and demographic is at risk - just consider the spam posts from your "hacked" friends on social media. Cyberbullies, Stalkers, Hackers, and other less savory characters look for opportunities to take advantage of the ill-informed.
Introducing: The Cyber Chip
The Boy Scouts of America has teamed up with NetSmartz®, a division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children®, to arm Scouts and their parents with the knowledge and tools needed to remain safe in an always-online world. The chip teaches Scouts about the importance of Internet safety and what kind of activity should be considered suspicious. Parents will be lead to establish guidelines of acceptable online behavior and activities with their Scouts.
The Cyber Chip is required for a number of Scouting awards, including (but not limited to) Cub Scout ranks and the Digital Technology and Programming merit badges. Cyber Chips must be "recharged" each year - a chip must be up-to-date before requirements involving the chip can be met. The Cyber Chip itself also has different areas of focus and different requirements for each age group.
Though the Etowah District does not yet offer courses for the Cyber Chip, we take online security very seriously and encourage all Units to consider training Scouts in cyber safety. Scouts may also undergo training individually with their parents.
For a list of requirements and more information on this excellent program, please visit scouting.org.