Why every Scout or Venturer needs to earn the Cyber Chip

cyber-chipIt’s been two years since I last blogged about the BSA’s Cyber Chip. In the online world, that’s like two lifetimes.

The importance of the Cyber Chip has only grown in the time since it was introduced. Now having a current Cyber Chip is the first requirement for Scouts earning the Digital Technology and Programming merit badges.

It’s not just for merit badge-earning Boy Scouts, though. There are different requirements for Scouts based on their grade: 1-3, 4-5, 6-8 and 9-12. That means Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, Varsity Scouts, Sea Scouts and Explorers should have an up-to-date Cyber Chip tailored to their unique online experience.

The Cyber Chip, developed in collaboration with NetSmartz, part of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, teaches Scouts and Venturers about cyberbullying, cell phone use, texting, blogging, gaming and identity theft.

Seeing as June is Internet Safety Month, now’s a great time to remind your Scouts and Venturers to earn (or update) their Cyber Chip. Learn more here, and watch this short explanatory video below:

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20 thoughts on “Why every Scout or Venturer needs to earn the Cyber Chip

  1. Bryan,
    One of the things I’m constantly trying to get my head around is the plethora of patches and awards cub scouts can get. Between the National Summertime Awards, den awards, family, emergency, cyber chip, recruiter, etc., etc. all on top of the normal rank awards, there’s almost TOO much for den leader and cubmasters to remember or shoot for.

    So will the next program coming out in 2015 help streamline some of this stuff? Make it more practical and integrated into the program?

  2. I’d like to point out here that with Cub program changes next year this is a required part of Bobcat, so you might as well have the boys do it anyway. With today’s world exposure the Scout should be Prepared.

    • Actually, John, earning or re-earning the Cyber Chip will be a requirement for EACH rank in Cubs starting next yesr. That same requirement is the last requirement for Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Arrow of Light, too. Remember, the Cyber Chip must be re-earned each year for Boy Scouts and Venturers, too.

        • The Cyber Chip will be mandatory for each Cub Scout rank startig next June, 2015.

          It is a prerequisite for the Programming and Digital Technology merit badges, but not for any Boy Scout ranks or other awards, nor for any Venturing awards now.

          However, it’s my GUESS that it will be added as a requirement for the SCOUT rank starting in 2016, as an added clause to requirement 9, which now says “With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet “How to protect your Children from Child Abuse, A Parent’s Guide”. That’s where it was added to each of the Cub Scout ranks.

  3. By the way, while we’re talking about Internet safety and the Cyber Chip, I’d like to mention the Internet Scout Patch program that the U.S. Scouting Service Project offers.

    While our program is not part of BSA’s, and our patch can only be worn as a “Temporary Patch”, it goes into some detail about Internet safety, texting, cell phone and digital camera use, and more. Details, images of our patches, and our program guide can be found at http://usscouts.org/InternetScoutPatch.asp And the first requirement of our program is to earn the BSA’s Cyber Chip. Our program is also open to youth who aren’t members of BSA.

    Even if you don’t want to earn our patch, our program guide contains a large number of links to valuable information on the subjects. I verified all of the links just last month, so they all should work. We hope you will find it useful.

  4. I’m take-it-or-leave-it on the idea of the Cyber Chip, but when I worked with our youth Webmaster to earn his 2 years ago, it struck me that requirement 4 (EDGE method) doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’ve got one scout who wants to get the chip because it’s funny, OK, he teaches his patrol about net safety in the patrol meeting. Great.
    Say, I have a patrol that wants to earn it, OK, the patrol does a presentation to another patrol or the troop. The breeding rabbits effect isn’t working: 30 scouts all doing a presentation–the same presentation–in an echo chamber of scouts who are all working on it or already have it.
    This EDGE crud; it’s a nice device for teaching our boys/ASMs how to teach skills in a way that good teachers were already doing before a suit came up with a snappy mnemonic, but you can go overboard with it.

  5. I guess I should be thankful for small things. At least this time national isn’t banning something.

  6. As for my comment about re-earning it each year, the Cyber Chip is like many training certifications withtime limits. It is only valid for ONE YEAR, and must be renewed.

  7. So I had a question about the cyberchip requriements for 9-12 graders. There seems to be conflicting requirements and I’m not sure what to do ?
    According to the scouting org site


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

    bug http://www.netsmartz.org/scouting says
    #3 “Like” the Boy Scouts of America page on Facebook. Please get your parent’s permission first!

    Merritbadge.org agrees with the scouting site, usscouts.org agrees with netsmartz (updated Feb 2014) http://www.usscouts.org/gold/advance/cyberchip.asp

    I personally think the like the face book page is self serving, and what do I do with a scout who does not have a Facebook account (nor his parents) ?

    P.S. Teaching / introducing this to my troop was my 5th W.B ticket item.

    • The version on Netsmartz matches what is in the 2014 Boy Scout Requirements booklet, which is what I used on usscouts.org.

      I’ve written to the Advancenent team to get a clariffication.

      • I got an answer from the national trainers, there was a change so the scouting site is correct and netsmartz is out of date.

        • Thanks Stuart. I’ve updated the usscouts.org site accordingly. I also updated the Boy Scout Cyber Chip, Programming MB, and Digital Technology MB workbooks on both usscouts.org and meritbadge.org.

  8. The last Cyber Chip age group is 9-12. Should the age be changed to 17 so a scout starting a Programming and Digital Technology merit badge will a more age appropriate set of requirements? Or should the be an additional set of requirements developed for the 13-17 age group?

  9. Is anyone else having problems with the videos for the 6-8th grades & 9-12 grades?
    I go to the link listed, http://www.netsmartz.org/scouting, click on ANY of the videos and get an error loading videos message. I have no problem with the videos for 1-5th grades.

    Any ideas? This is getting frustrating!!!


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