Scouts-L Mail Archive for October of 1998: Re: Website Set-up Help Needed
Re: Website Set-up Help Needed
Steven G. Tyler
Thu, 8 Oct 1998 09:35:15 -0400
Akridge, Jim wrote, in part:
> Looking for tips to tailor our pack website to satisfy parents who are
> scared of pedophiles and privacy concerns on the web. Our pack recently
> created its own website.
Having argued this point for some time, I'm convinced that, for someone
spooked by the Internet, you've got about as good a chance to convince
Oliver Stone that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone! Sorry, but be prepared
for irrational reactions to even the most well-crafted presentation.
With that said, my position is that, within prudent limits, a unit Web
site is a good thing. I agree that, under most circumstances, locating
and identifying information should not be provided on the Scouts.
However, we do post copies of our Troop newsletter to the site, and that
does have the names of the Scouts who have participated in the Troop
activities, and those who hold Troop leadership positions. Moreover, we
have individual Scout Web pages, in which the Scout can provide any info
that's reasonably related to Scouting and approved by his parents.
For me, this boils down to a matter of practicalities: how many
pedophiles are really going to be trolling unit Web sites for contact
info? I have repeatedly challenged those who would severely restrict (or
even ban) Web sites to name even *one* instance of abuse or attempted
abuse arising from a youth-group Web site. To date, no one has ever
cited one. To be perfectly blunt, a pedophile has many more promising
(and unguarded) opportunities to locate and interact with school-age
children than unit Web sites -- real life, for instance.
My bottom line? Use common sense. Don't go out of the way to provide
contact or background info (full names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.),
and certainly not in the face of parental objection. As long as they are
not tied to individual identifying info, I don't see a problem with
photos, but probably group activity shots are better in any event,
rather than static mug shots.
It's an imperfect, sometimes dangerous world, but unless we sequester
our children behind walls and muffle them in chadors while in public,
there is no way to entirely gueard them against those who would harm
them (and probably not even then). My vote is for interaction with the
world, with prudent precautions.
YIS, Steve on Cattail Creek <Steven G. Tyler>, Severna Park, MD, USA
"The Computer Counselor," Technology Consulting for the Law Office
Advancement Chair and de facto Webmaster, Troop 339,
Baltimore Area Council, BSA (http://members.aol.com/troop339/)