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By:    On: 2011-09-03

In Scout troops across the country, Facebook and Twitter have become increasingly important communication tools, often edging out phone trees and email as the most popular ways to send and receive information.

For all their benefits, however, social media have their limitations as well. You have to be 13 to sign up for Facebook, for example, and social-media sites create the potential for the sorts of inappropriate adult-to-youth contact that would never be acceptable in the offline world.

To help troops, districts, and councils use social media wisely, the BSA has recently created an extensive set of social-media guidelines. You can access the whole document at, but here are a few highlights:

* All users should honor a given site's terms of service-no Cub Scouts on Facebook, for example.
* Scout-adult communication should take place in the open-e.g., on Facebook walls instead of through Facebook messages. Otherwise, a second adult should be copied (and not blind-copied) on all messages (emails, for example).
* Troop Facebook pages should not be private, and there should be at least two administrators with password access.

Again, those are just highlights. I encourage you to study the entire document carefully and make sure your troop's practices are appropriate.

Republished with permission, These tips come from the tips list is a free service for more information, visit

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