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Weekly Discussion: Mobile phones at meetings

Should mobiles be allowed at meetings?

  • No-Rainbows

  • Yes-Rainbows

  • No-Brownies

  • Yes-Brownies

  • No-Guides

  • Yes-Guides

  • No-TSS

  • Yes-TSS

  • Depends on the meeting

  • Other

Results are only viewable after voting.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Day early because I am in chaos mode at the moment!

I can see that this might be a dividing subject, and this will have a sister .2 thread for residentials (Weekly Discussion: Mobile phones at residentials).

Should mobile phones be allowed at normal meetings? (Please note I understand that there might be more variations but this is the max it could give me!)

Mobile phones have increasingly ingrained in our lives since smart phones have become more commonplace. Fifteen years ago a Brownie or Rainbow almost definitely would not have owned a mobile, and if a Guide or Ranger was using one it would likely be for texting.

But now lots of younger girls have mobiles, and at all ages they have smart phones. And its not just texting and calls anymore, its snap chatting, listening to music, games....but on the flip side girls can do research, play music as a part of an activity and use relevant apps.

What are your thoughts?
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Veteran (100+ posts)
My personal thoughts are that I would definitely say no to Rainbows and Brownies, Guides I would do on a meeting by meeting basis. TSS I think can self regulate unless its a very immature unit. For R&B its too much of a liability, I'd be too worried it would get broken or causing jealousy. If a Brownie does bring a phone it gets put in a safe visible place for the meeting next to the leaders folders.
My main concern with Brownies and Guides is that girls like to take photos, which can be problematic when it comes to photo consent.


Brownie Leader
Staff member
We don't have a problem with mobiles at Brownies, but we are seeing a few who turn up with Fitbits or smart watches, where the same principle applies - expensive gadgets have no place at Brownies. A few years ago it was wheelie shoes, there are phases.

I think children should manage 90 minutes without a phone. If parents have an issue, they talk with the adults. Guides, where they might make their own way home, I can see why them having theirs may be useful, but I think it should be left in a box or on a table on arrival - they don't need it during the meeting. That way everyone's equal, as not every guide she has a phone, even in this day and age. I would be wary of doing activities that expect them to use their phones, it sets an expectation.

Guiding is about common standards....not who has the latest iPhone or trainers.


Veteran (100+ posts)
We have one Guide who brings her phone, but it is put onto the windowsill straight away. There is an expectation of no phone usage in meetings, and so far it hasn't been a problem. Rainbows and Brownies don't bring them at all.

In some areas (so far, not in mine), Guides might walk home alone, and I can understand them wanting to have their phones with them for that.


Veteran (100+ posts)
We allow them to be brought as quite a few walk home etc. But they must left in coat pockets/bags and they will be told to put them away if I see them.

The latest buzz word at work is to commit to “Be Present” on a course/important meeting etc. and I for once actually really like it. I have been trying to pass this onto my Guides when I have to tell them to put the phones away or discuss why they can’t have them out as it leads to a more interesting discussion than the usual.


Veteran (100+ posts)
It's tricky isn't it, because some of the GFIs and badges specifically require research into things, in which case, a quick Google solves the issue. Or if you need a timer, or need to play music. Yes, I could carry a CD player and an egg timer into a meeting, but a phone and a glass will do the same job but fit in my pocket!

Ideally, all unit meeting activities should be possible without phones or internet access. Like others have said, it's good to have a break from them and teaches the girls about being present etc. So I have high hopes for the new programme that this is considered.


Veteran (100+ posts)
We've always been quite laid back about phones in meetings and it hadn't been a problem until about a year ago. A group of girls were snapchatting about each other without us knowing and one got very upset. I spoke to the girls and emailed all the parents the message below and instigated a "phone jail". They can now bring them but if we see them, they go to jail (the phone, not the guide). All the parents were really supportive and we've not really had a problem since (touch wood)

I think we need to realise that, however much they may be a pain, it is 2017 and the girls are attached to their phones. For some it is a very real anxiety problem when they are without them. Having said that, having a technology free space is good for them and I think we should encourage that where ever possible.

Dear parent
After an incident last week, I am writing to ask for your help to encourage your daughter not to bring her phone to Guides.
It has always been a rule at Guides not to have their phones out but unfortunately some girls can not seem to just have them on silent in their pocket. So, from now on, any phones seen being used during Guides will be sent to “phone jail” and the girls will get them back at the end of the session. We encourage a phone free zone at Guides because they distract from the activities we are doing and it is good for the girls to spend a little time technology free.
I am sorry that it has come to this but we do have girls who do not have photo permission and photos posted on social media without us knowing could lead to very serious consequences.
If you have any issues with this, please feel free to contact me.
Many thanks for your help


Veteran (100+ posts)
I don't allow phones at our meetings and due to our rural location all of my girls are dropped off and collected as it's not possible for them to walk home, so they don't even have that excuse ;0)

If we need a stop watch or a compass or to look something up then the leaders have their phones. If a parent needs to be contacted then I have the contact numbers, likewise, parents have my number if they need to get a message through to their daughter.


Veteran (100+ posts)
My Rangers group I don’t mind, they mainly use them for background music while they’re doing cooking or crafty things, plus the occasional selfie or Snapchat pic.

For the Guides we only have a couple who have them- one girl in particular who likes to try and show off as she always has the latest. We just say to put it away, that’s not what the activity is. They usually comply pretty quickly.

I use my phone a lot - mainly taking pictures, sometimes as a timer or similar. I figure if it’s used as a tool, not a toy (no playing candy crush while leading!), then that’s acceptable and appropriate.


Our Guides have chosen for themselves to have a rule about mobile phones - that they are only used when authorised, and should not be a distraction. For instance, I have no problem with the Guides playing music whilst working on an activity together, provided the activity is getting done, and there are no arguments about which tracks are played. Or using a phone to do online research linked to the activity. But the Guides can judge for themselves whether someone is on their phone instead of joining in with what they are meant to be doing, and are ready to police each other. So at meetings, we have not needed to impose any rules on phones and their use.


Veteran (100+ posts)
For a while at Guides we had to be very strict about phones on the side during meetings, because of the particular group of girls that we had. Now i don’t actually know whether anyone brings phones because I don’t see them at all. The current group of girls are engaged in activities without needing a rule about putting phones away. If there’s a lull while we set up an activity, they’ll instigate a running around game or make up a silly dance, I genuinely don’t see them on their phones in meetings. If I did I would ask them to put it away, if it became a persistent problem then we’d bring back the “all phones on the side” rule.