The Scouts BSA Cyber Chip (Grades 6-12): Your Ultimate Guide In 2020


Cyber chips, launched in 2017, are one of the newest additions to Scouting. Necessary to earn the “Scout” (Grade 6-8) and “Star” (Grade 9-12) ranks, cyber chips teach scouts about online safety. In this article, I’ll be walking you through each of those requirements for both “Star” and “Scout” rank to help you quickly and easily earn your cyber chip award!

Cyber chip requirements differ between scouts who are in 6th through 8th grade, versus scouts who are in 9th through 12th grade. In this article, I’ve included the requirements and answers to both groups for you! PS: You might want to doublecheck the heading to make sure you’re reading the sections that apply to your grade. 😉

Take a minute to watch the video (0:54) below on the purpose of Cyber Chips. Knowing ‘why’ you’re doing something is the first step to doing anything wholeheartedly. Learning online safety is incredibly important, so after watching this video, read the rest of this article carefully!

Know why Cyber Chips are important? Great! Now it’s time to, familiarize yourself with the cyber chip requirements that correspond to your grade. Once you understand what you’ll need to complete, keep reading for my answers and templates you can use to quickly earn a cyber chip of your own!

Cyber Chip Requirements for Grades 9-12

  1. Read and sign the Level II Internet Safety Pledge on the BSA Cyber Chip Card.
  2. Write and sign a personalized contract with your parent or guardian that outlines rules for using the computer and mobile devices, including what you can download, what you can post, and consequences for inappropriate use.
  3. Watch three “Real-Life Story ” videos to learn the impact on teens.
  4. As an individual or patrol, use the EDGE method and the Student Project Kit to teach Internet safety rules, behavior, and “netiquette” to your troop or another patrol. You are encouraged to use any additional material and information you have researched. Each member of the patrol must have a role and present part of the lesson. 
  5. Discuss with your unit leader the acceptable standards and practices for using allowed electronic devices such as phones and games at your meetings and other Scouting events.
  6. Discuss with your parents the benefits and potential dangers teenagers might experience when using social media. Give examples of each.

Cyber Chip Requirements for Grades 6-8

  1. Read and sign the Level II Internet Safety Pledge on the BSA Cyber Chip Card.
  2. Write and sign a personalized contract with your parent or guardian that outlines rules for using the computer and mobile devices, including what you can download, what you can post, and consequences for inappropriate use.
  3. Watch the video “Friend or Fake,” along with two additional videos of your choosing, to see how friends can help each other to stay safe online. 
  4. As an individual or with your patrol, use the EDGE method and to teach Internet safety rules, behavior, and “netiquette” to your troop or another patrol. You are encouraged to use any additional material and information you have researched. Each member of the patrol must have a role and present part of the lesson.
  5. Discuss with your unit leader the acceptable standards and practices for using allowed electronic devices, such as phones and games, at your meetings and other Scouting events.

Note: All Cyber Chips will expire annually. Each Scout will need to go to Netsmartz  and complete 2 new resources to recommit to net safety and netiquette. Then, with the unit leader, the Scout can add the new date to the Cyber Chip card or certificate.

Requirement 1: Read and sign the Level II Internet Safety Pledge on the BSA Cyber Chip Card.

What Is a Cyber Chip Green Card?

A cyber chip green card, basically the same thing as a cyber chip, is a rectangular card that outlines the rules of online safety. Similar to a totin’ or fireman chip, the cyber chip green card helps you to use the internet — a dangerous tool — safely and responsibly.

To be awarded your cyber chip, you’ll need to read, understand, and agree to the internet safety pledge below. (This same pledge will also be printed on the back of your cyber chip award)

  1. I will think before I post
  2. I will respect other people online
  3. I will respect digital media ownership
  4. I won’t meet face-to-face with anyone I meet in the digital world unless I have my parent’s permission
  5. I will protect myself online.

If you don’t have a cyber chip card on hand, I’d bet your scoutmaster has a spare one for you to use! If not, you might need to buy yours online, The official cyber chip green cards can be found at Scout Shop.

Requirement 2: Your Cyber Chip Personalized Contract

Write and sign a personalized contract with your parent or guardian that outlines rules for using the computer and mobile devices, including what you can download, what you can post, and consequences for inappropriate use.

I’d encourage you to sit with your parents and draft up a contract of your own. However, if you’d prefer a cyber chip contract template, check out my example contract below. You’re welcome! 🙂


Digital Technology Contract

My parents allow me to use digital technology if I agree to it safely and responsibly. Technology is a tool and should be used responsibly. I understand that I must follow these principles below, or that the device will be taken away from me

  • Trustworthy: I will not do anything illegal or unethical online. I will not cyberbully, produce inappropriate images, or illegally download any copyrighted materials.
  • Loyal: I will not gossip about friends or cyber-bully others. I will not disclose any sensitive personal information. (Like my home address or passwords)
  • Helpful: I will point out fake news, scams, and unethical behavior online, and point users to reliable sources whenever possible.
  • Friendly: I will not swear at or bully others, even while gaming or doing something competitive.
  • Courteous: I will treat all other people online, whether I know them or not, with politeness and courtesy.
  • Kind: I will have empathy in my dealings with others. There’s a real person with feelings out there reading my message or comment.
  • Cheerful: Digital technology is a tool for learning, entertainment, and connecting with friends/family. I will use it in moderation and remain cheerful while offline.
  • Thrifty: I will be thoughtful about the purchases I make, the data usage charges I rack up, and the way I treat my devices. I will be responsible for paying any unreasonable costs caused by my actions.
  • Brave: If I witness any instances of cyberbullying, illegal activities, or suicidal threats, I will go directly to my parents.
  • Clean: I will not use my devices to view R-rated content. Piracy, pornography, drugs, gambling, and any other topic falling under that umbrella are strictly off-limits
  • Reverent: I will not spread hateful, inappropriate, or untrue content online.

________________________________________

Scout Signature                                         Date

________________________________________

Parent/Guardian Signature(s)                   Date


Requirement 3: Watch 3 NetSmartz videos

Watch the video “Friend or Fake,” along with two additional videos of your choosing, to see how friends can help each other to stay safe online. 

You’ll need to watch 3 videos on internet safety to complete this requirement for your Cyber Chip award. I’d personally recommend watching the videos on meeting strangers offline (2:44) and social media profiles(2:47) as they’re very relevant.

If you’re in grade 6-8: Watch “Friend or Fake” along with 2 other videos. I’d recommend watching the videos linked above on cyberbullying and gaming. However, you can check out some other options here.

If you’re in grade 9-12: Simply watch 3 ‘Real-Life Story’ videos.

If you need to watch a third video, Two Kinds of Stupid (3:04) might help you to reconsider the things you post online. In my opinion, this is one of the most valuable Netsmartz videos for any high schooler.

Requirement 4: Use The EDGE Method To Teach Internet Safety to Your Troop/Patrol

As an individual or with your patrol, use the EDGE method to teach Internet safety rules, behavior, and “netiquette” to your troop or another patrol. You are encouraged to use any additional material and information you have researched. Each member of the patrol must have a role and present part of the lesson.

Before we jump into things, watch this short video (2:07) on teaching by using the EDGE method. Then, I’ll be providing you with a few suggestions of skills you could teach to your troop!

Got it? The EDGE method provides a great way to teach hands-on skills.

Now it’s time to recap everything you’ve learned so far in a presentation to your patrol! I’d personally use the Scout Law as a base and talk about how you could apply those same principles to your behavior online (like in my sample contract for req 2). Be sure to cover 3 main points:

  • Internet safety rules: The rules that are printed on your cyber chip.
  • Behavior: The contract with your parents, as well as online dangers to watch out for (see section 6).
  • “Netiquette”: Avoiding bullying and using social media correctly.

If you’re in grades 9-12, it’s also recommended that you read the Netsmartz PDF. You can find a copy by clicking the link below! Once you review the main ideas with your patrol, you’ll have completed requirement 4 of your cyber chip!

Requirement 5: Discuss Electronics In Scouting With Your Scoutmaster

Discuss with your unit leader the acceptable standards and practices for using allowed electronic devices, such as phones and games, at your meetings and other Scouting events.

Discuss your troop’s electronics policy with a scoutmaster. Clarify the proper use of phones during troop functions and work to fully understand your troop’s electronics policy. Feel free to ask any questions you might have and discuss the situation honestly.

There really isn’t much more to do to prepare for this requirement. Using the knowledge you’ve gained from completing the last 4 requirements, you’ll be well aware of the risks and responsibilities of using digital technology properly!

Once you’ve finished your discussion, if you’re in 6th through 8th grade, you’ve just finished earning your cyber chip! If you’re in grades 9-12, continue on to the last requirement.

(Grade 9-12 Only) Requirement 6: Discuss the Benefits and Dangers of Social Media For Teenagers

Discuss with your parents the benefits and potential dangers teenagers might experience when using social media. Give examples of each.

Here are 5 serious dangers to be aware of when using social media:

  • Bullying: Whether you’re bullying someone else, or simply being a bit edgy, you should know that any online messages can be saved. Teens have been suspended and even expelled for things they’ve said online. Be very careful about what you’re writing and who you’re writing it to when online.
  • Inappropriate content: Creating, sharing, or saving illegal content can get you into a lot of trouble. I’d recommend you avoid pirating files and never save or distribute inappropriate photos/videos.
  • Strangers/Catfishing: Whether it’s some kid at school trying to mess with you or some serial killer trying to kidnap you, you should avoid talking with strangers you encounter online. Never send sensitive material to, or meet with, someone you’ve only talked to online.
  • Comparison traps: Spending too much time on social media can make you begin to overly compare yourself with others. Don’t fall into this trap and instead, live your own life. Often, pictures shared online are photoshopped highlight reels, so avoid comparing yourself to people you’re seeing online.
  • Scams/Viruses: Viruses can steal sensitive information and destroy your device. Scams can cost you money and compromise your personal security. Always be aware of that these pitfalls exist, and be cautious when downloading files or giving out important information.

However, don’t let these dangers stop you from using social media altogether. There are definitely benefits that come from using social media constructively and effectively. Don’t believe me?

Here are 5 benefits that you can get from using social media in the right way:

  • Connect with friends: By communicating with your friends on social media, you’ll be able to easily keep in touch and make plans to hang out. You can also keep up to date with friends whom you might not be able to see very often.
  • Signal to prospective employers: Employers and colleges often check out your social media pages before making an acceptance decision. Turn this to your advantage by putting your best foot forward!
  • Learn: Social media can be a great source of knowledge if you follow the right kind of pages. By unfollowing trashy pages and following useful ones, social media can help you to effortlessly learn and grow!
  • Unlock opportunities: Sometimes, job opportunities or exciting new options can appear on social media. By keeping a watch out for anything that might be useful, social media has the power to unlock opportunities! Just remember to be careful. 🙂
  • Create something to help others: Creating value for others can be a path to enormous success. If you begin to code, help others, or create content, you might find yourself able to build a huge following. Doing this can unlock enormous opportunities for you very quickly on in your life!

Conclusion

I want to stress to you one last time: The internet is a powerful tool. Earning your cyber chip will help you to safely navigate the digital world and teach you the skills to use your devices responsibly.

Now I hope you’ve found my article about cyber chips helpful! Check back at ScoutSmarts often, because I’m constantly putting out new articles to help scouts like yourself succeed. Until next time! And, as always, best of luck on your Scouting journey

Cole

I'm constantly writing new content for this website because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making this world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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