Exploring the Digital Wilderness with Beavers, Scouts and Explorers 

March 25, 2024

Our Project Officer Jamie Wells, on working with the Beavers, Scouts and Explorers to achieve their Digital Citizen Staged Activity Badge

I was invited to join in with these three groups, running a bespoke session, to help the young people achieve their Exploring the Digital Wilderness activity badge. Through gambling, gaming and internet safety activities, games, information sharing and even songs, we embarked on an adventure with Beavers, Scouts and Explorers as we journeyed through the digital wilderness! Just like their outdoor expeditions, navigating the digital realm required skill, awareness, and a sense of responsibility. Together, we discovered the digital landscape and learned how to leave positive footprints along the way. We discussed four main topics for the badge to be awarded.

  1. Mapping Out Our Digital Adventures: In the same way they map out their hikes, we creatively visualised our digital actions. We imagined each search, click, or post as a step along our digital path. Through discussions with fellow young explorers, we reflected on the information we left behind with each digital action. We pondered whether it was okay to leave this digital trail and explored ways to ensure we were leaving positive impacts online. We also discussed this as it relates to gaming, who are we sharing our information with, do we really know who it is. This then lead onto discussions about how easy we share our information to people and that if we were experiencing harm from gaming or gambling, how easy it would be for those companies to get back in contact with us.
  2. Creating Secure Passwords: Just like setting up camp requires securing our belongings, creating a strong password was essential for protecting our digital identity. With the guidance of trusted adults, we learned how to craft passwords that were sturdier than the sides of a tent. By taking this step, we fortified our digital shelters against potential intruders and safeguarded our online adventures. This lead into conversations about knowing how to change our passwords, if needed, as well as how to delete or pause our social and gaming profiles, as required. We then talked about how hard this actually is, to completely remove yourself from these platforms, including gambling accounts, and how easy it would be for someone who experiencing harm, to be enticed back in.
  3. Responding Positively to Digital Challenges: In the digital wilderness, we might encounter unkindness, dishonesty or bullying from others. We equipped ourselves with three positive responses: kindness, honesty, and seeking help from a trusted person. Whether it was responding with a friendly message, speaking truthfully about our experiences, or reaching out to a trusted adult when feeling uncomfortable, these actions empowered us to navigate the digital landscape with resilience and grace. This was a beneficial chat, as it showed that harms experienced from gaming and gambling can also be a form of dishonesty and bullying. We then talked about how to reduce these harms and most importantly, who to reach out to when we need help and support.
  4. Learning and Sharing New Skills Online: Just as young people learn knots and survival skills in our outdoor pursuits, we harnessed the power of online resources to acquire knowledge and talents. Using online services, we explored interests ranging from coding to cooking and shared our newfound expertise with others. By showcasing our digital accomplishments, we inspired fellow adventurers to embark on their own learning quests. This was done through writing a song about how to address on-line harassment (Beavers), sculpting positive online presences examples through modelling clay (Scouts) or helping me create the sessions for the younger groups and how to discuss sensitive subjects such as harm from gambling and gaming (Explorers) each group successfully displayed and proved that they had absorbed the information in the sessions, and I believe that they each group successfully achieved the badge and left feeling more secure.

The adventure with Beavers, Cubs, and Scouts in the digital wilderness was a journey filled with exploration, learning, and camaraderie around every virtual corner. Together, we navigated the digital landscape with confidence, curiosity, and a commitment to leaving a positive impact in our wake.