Teen Travel Network
Cell Phone Policy
Learn more about Teen Travel Network's program policies
Cell Phone Policy
TTN strives to create an environment that encourages students to unplug and forge connections with fellow students, staff and the countries or cities they are visiting. TTN has found that the more students use their cell phones on a program, the harder it is for them to be present and fully process their time on the program. Part of TTN’s mission is to guide students towards becoming travelers, not simply tourists. Travelers who are experiencing the world around them in real time. Cell phones can often inhibit that process.
Mobile phones and electronic devices can be brought to programs but must remain off and completely out of view on-site for the duration of tours, meal times, designated cultural activities, mentor groups & guest speakers. Students may use phones to take pictures during tours, museum and site visits, but should not be texting, calling, gaming, or contacting others during this time. When using phones outside of accommodations, cell phones should act exclusively as a camera, unless otherwise specified by staff. Any phone in view that is causing constant distraction or affecting the group dynamic – the student will be given a verbal warning and their phone may be confiscated, logged and securely held until the end of the day (+-20h00), at which point it can be collected by the student. Repeat offenders will be appropriately dealt with in line with our existing Code of Conduct (verbal warnings & confiscation, behavioral contract etc.).
Students are only permitted to use cell phones, including pre-purchased data and talk plans, during specific staff-designated “Cell phone time” such as mornings before breakfast or evenings before lights out. Cell phone time will be visible on the daily schedule so students know when cell phone times are coming. Parents should not expect to hear from students between 7h00- 20h00 local time of the program destination. If parents need to get hold of their student, they can contact the international staff directly. Use of phones and electronic devices can be disruptive during meals, Mentor groups, and workshops and may be collected by staff during these times.
Internet Access, Signal & Connectivity on TTN programs
Each country and program site come with their own unique advantages and challenges to internet access. In Home Bases where there is wifi, program directors will provide students access to the wifi so that they can connect with their family during staff-designated cell phone time only. If a student doesn’t have a phone to connect, they may ask staff to use their phone to call home if they desire.
TTN cannot guarantee that all Home Bases will have consistent, high-speed internet. In some locations, the internet connection may be particularly sporadic and one can expect the connectivity timeline to vary greatly. (i.e. students may have 2 days back-to-back where they can connect while in a city to start the program, and that may be all for a 2-week program). Wifi access capabilities will be shared for each program on the Travel Portal.
The wifi that is made available, is for connecting with family and is not for streaming of any kind. Some program sites have capped total data available per session, and when students stream, the entire amount can be depleted in seconds by a few students.
Students and families should not expect to be given time on a program to purchase SIM cards. TTN staff will encourage students to remain as disconnected from their phones as possible so as to encourage connection to the country in which they are visiting.
Drones, Laptops and Misc. Electronics on TTN Programs
Students on TTN programs will not be permitted to bring laptops, iPads/tablets, drones and other expensive electronics as they are not conducive to the travel experience on TTN programs.
Cameras & Wearable Devices
TTN recommends that students bring a small, point-and-shoot camera for ease of travel, which can be used throughout the program to take pictures. The use of point-and-shoot cameras during adventure and cultural activities will be up to the discretion of the program staff and may not be appropriate for ethical or other reasons depending on the activity. Cell phones may be used as cameras during designated cell phone time as indicated by the program directors. DSLRs and expensive photography equipment are allowed in place of a point-and-shoot camera; however, students will be responsible for the security of their equipment. Wearable devices will not be collected along with cell phones; however, as travelers it is best practice to keep a low profile, and therefore wearable devices are not recommended. TTN is not responsible for any damaged, lost or stolen electronic devices.
During the program, students on the program are expected to write a short blog with photos. We typically receive 2-3 blog posts per week from international program staff, though the frequency of program blog updates depends on location, access to the internet, excursions away from the Home Base, and other factors. All programs also send an update on the arrival of students in-country with a photo of the student group. The objective of making these blogs available to families is to give family members back home brief insights into their student’s experience on-program, and is not meant to be a catch-all for every activity that happens on-program.
TTN has adopted a strict ‘no tolerance’ policy for cyber bullying and/or using cell phones to cause distress among fellow students or local staff.
TTN Staff and Cell Phone Policy
As positive role models, we expect all our staff to exhibit the same behavior we wish to see from students on our programs. When in front of students, staff will limit their cell phone use to work-related purposes and ensure students know the difference between work use and personal use. Staff are expected to have their phones on them at all times to ensure they are able to gain and give support as needed to run their program, to remain accessible to both TTN and families as needed.
Cell Phone Policy and Fellowships (Arts & Letters Fellows in Photography or Videography Tracks)
All Fellowship students will be held to the same standards of this policy. For Fellowship students, we strongly recommend they bring a point-and-shoot camera to supplement their Fellowship needs (in some cases, to capture a series of photos or video clips for their final Fellowship project), which will allow them to take their device to more locations/activities for photography than with a smartphone alone. Under this policy, all students can expect to have access to their phones at a minimum of one time every day.
Other Teen Travel Network Policies
Discover Teen Travel Network’s various program policies and statements of intent. Be sure to review each of these policies or statements before you participate in a TTN summer travel program:
- Program Policies Hub
- Animal & Wildlife Protection Policy
- Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Policy
- Cell Phone Policy
- COVID-19 Risk Management (FAQ)
- DEI Policies & Statements
- Refund Policy
- Risk Management Policy
- Sexual Harassment Policy
- Student Safety and Supervision Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Tuition Policy
- Water Safety Policy
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