If you think that this post is all about the girls, then think again. I am talking to you as well.
Sometimes when I hear myself, I realize that I am getting older. I remember a time before cell phones invaded every aspect of our lives. When “car phones” (remember when they were called that?) first arrived on the scene, they were large, clunky, and had to be charged in a base in your car. They were very expensive as well. The only women I knew who had them were the wives of very successful men (think doctors and lawyers). Only one of my teaching colleagues owned one, and her husband worked in a very successful family business.
My “Girls Night Out” was blissfully uninterrupted by children and husbands. No one dared to call a house landline when young children were asleep! But once cell phones became more accessible to the masses, that all ended and phone calls started to interrupt what was once sacred time away from the family.
Why am I bringing this up?
Because as the leader of older girls, I have seen that they are attached at the palm to their phones. Due to personality conflicts and seeing things that made us wary, we decided that a “no phone” rule had to be in place for all meetings. Girls who brought them would have them placed in a basket by the door as they entered. If we saw them with a phone, it would be taken away. Parents were on board with this rule.
We all know that tweens and teen girls can be quite catty. They can “talk” about another girl or even a leader without saying a word because they can text it to each other. Smirks, side glances and giggles after sending a text is passive/aggressive behavior. Showing Instagram pictures that include only small cliques of girls but not all can cause hurt feelings.
These slights can harm just as much as words can, especially if there are a few girls who can alter your troop’s dynamic. This is not promoting the sisterhood of Girl Scouting.
Photo from Pixabay
Girl Scout meetings should be a phone free time for everyone, including leaders. While you do need to have your phone handy in case a parent calls, you can have a ringtone assigned for all scouting parents so if any other tone goes off, you can make the decision to check your phone or not. Unless there is a big emergency in your life and/or a family member needs to reach you, there is no reason to answer your phone. This time belongs to the girls.
The problem with phones is that when you answer one, you are telling the people you are with that the people who are not there are far more important. I see a generation of children who accept being ignored by adults, and they find it perfectly normal to ignore adults because they are mimicking behavior that they experience all the time.
While you cannot control phone time outside of your Girl Scout meeting, you are in total control while the troop is with you. Use this electronics free time to your advantage.
How have you handled cell phones at your meetings? What are your rules?