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Weekly Discussion: Mobile phones at residentials

Would you allow mobiles to be brought on a residential?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Yes, but they can only be used at set times

  • Yes, but it depends on which section

  • Other

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Veteran (100+ posts)
Mobile phones at meetings (Weekly Discussion: Mobile phones at meetings ) is perhaps one thing, and mobiles at residentials is another.

As put in the other thread, how we often and how we use mobiles has changed. Completely banning mobiles at residentials has been a practice for some units ever since they found their way out of just the hands of yuppies and into teenagers too. But is this still feasible?

Whilst we can pride ourselves on having interesting enough activities that girls don't need the distractions that phones can provide there are other factors at play. Many no longer own a separate camera, and there are lots of events outside of Guiding that might demand needing to be connected (sign ups for other activities, getting emails about coursework, part time job schedule postings...).

What do you all think?

*Edit: This question is primarily aimed at allowance for young members, but you may also wish to share your thoughts about adult members being allowed to use phones...*
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Veteran (100+ posts)
Sorry I should have specified, I do mean girls! I suppose some leaders in charge of a residential might ask leaders to not use phones in front of girls, but as an adult I would not appreciate being blanket told "no you cannot bring a phone at all"...


Veteran (100+ posts)
I think for Guides and Senior section complete bans are unrealistic especially with the camera piece but it really depends where we are going.

My group took them to London the other week (as it made sense) and they were a complete and utter pain! Playing games etc.

So if we are in an enclosed campsite/ venue and they are picked up and dropped off i’d be very tempted to ban them going forward. Especially camping i’d Be really worried put them getting wet etc.

Quite honestly I tend to give them my camera or phone to take pictures with anyway and then print a few off for them. That way I can control who is in the pics (we have a few who are unit only)


Veteran (100+ posts)
For Brownies it would be a blanket no. There is little need for them to have it, and I'd have concerns about how homesickness might result in calls or messages home first before telling a leader. For Guides and younger TSS I think they could be brought but kept in a secure box etc by leaders and taken out on request or for down time. Older/ TSS and mature Guides could probably self regulate.


Guide Guider
After an incident where one of our Guides took a photo of a vulnerable girl in our unit who was in care and needed to be kept secret (she was actively being searched for by a number of men) on her mobile and put it on her facebook page. Since then NO children's phones or cameras are permitted at any activity or event which is explained to all new parents, instead we have purchased 4 unit cameras and memory sticks, the cameras are numbered and adults are put in charge of one each but the girls use them at any time to take any photos of anyone/ anything so long as they return them to the adult when they have finished with them. I am pleased to say we have had them for more than 4 years now and all cameras are still working and not lost, some of the girls take excellent photos too which we do use - in fact I think the girls prefer it as they like handing the cameras back & not have to worry about keeping them safe when at camp.


Beginner (10+ posts)
I'd have concerns about how homesickness might result in calls or messages home first before telling a leader.
We've had this happen (Guides).

Our practice the last couple of times we've been away is to technically allow them (because of the camera), but make a big deal about the risk of them getting broken, and insist they be handed in at night. Most parents see our point and don't let their daughter bring it.


Veteran (100+ posts)
For us it entirely depends on the event. (Guides)

When we go on sleepovers at Alton Towers/Drayton Manor etc we allow them to bring them as during the day they go off on their own but when we are camping "in a field" the answer is no, I'm afraid.


Veteran (100+ posts)
when we are camping "in a field" the answer is no, I'm afraid.
In the field there often isn't anywhere to charge them so I tell them there's no point in bringing them.

I also feel that we're going to help girl grow to become independent, self-reliant and confident in their own abilities then it's good to have just a day or two when you can't just fall back on your phone to solve all problems, provide you with entertainment and keep you tied to the apron strings. At camp this summer during 'down time' a couple of girls sat and did a huge jigsaw puzzle, other put on a talent show in their patrol tent, others just went off under the trees and chatted Harry Potter for an hour. I don't think this would have happened if they'd all had their phones with them.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Brownies - no, not at all. We’ve had girls bring them before (despite being told not to), usually because they’re prone to homesickness. I just don’t think it helps them though. I want to know if they’re desperately homesick, I don’t want them crying on the phone in secret.

Guides - I was surprised at the last (large scale) camp we went to as I’d said no phones but the camp seemed to expect the girls to have phones. Reception was terrible anyway so they were very little use anyway. The previous camp I went to had said no phones but then had a cycling charging station where some of my girls spent most of their time (letting others cycle while their phone was charged!). At that camp I did make several calls to one set of parents to let the Guide speak to them, there were family and personal circumstances that made it very hard for her to be away, the parents and leaders had agreed beforehand what to do and how to handle it.

So at Guide age I think it’s increasingly normal to bring phones but that rules about when they can be used need to be in place. I prefer them not to bring them at all though.


Veteran (100+ posts)
with both Guides and TSS I allow them to bring their phones (but it is stressed that it is at their own risk) and I collect them in.
I let them have one phone (whichever I get from the box first normally) to go with each group as they go exploring - they have all have mine and the other leaders phone numbers written on card for them, then its handed back in when they come back.

The Rangers I let have their phones at night as well, mainly because I know that keeping up on their social media is very important to them and can cause them to stress out if they think they're missing somthing. SnapChat Streaks are somthing I know they need to do everyday or they lose the streak, and some of them have over a year long ones.


With Brownies, a clear no. I know how upset they can get over a mislaid hairbrush, fearing their parents will 'kill' them - when as adults we know it could be replaced for £1 or so if actually lost, but in reality it'll likely turn up within the hour. So them bringing something which actually has a significant value, and could so easily be damaged isn't wise.

With Guides, it would depend on the event. How long would they be away? Would there be signal? Would there be scope for charging? Would they have a legitimate purpose for having one with them. But if they were being permitted I'd also have a very detailed chat with them about when the phones should and shouldn't be used, and for what - no photographs in the tent around bedtime, no having chats on the phone which exclude anyone in the company, no using the phone when they should be doing other things instead, and no reporting problems or upsets to the folks at home that they haven't already informed one of the Leaders about - and I would explain why each of these would apply.