100% All-Natural Content
No Artificial Intelligence!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cub Scouts to offer award for video gaming

I hope these kids understand that emergency first aid in the real world is kinda hard to do while running around the landscape looking for medpacks.

The Boy Scouts of America is now offering a Video Games merit award for its younger members: those who are part of the Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts. There are actually two awards: the Video Games belt loop (one of those metal belt ornaments, which I always thought were pretty innovative) and an academics pin, which is earned after getting the belt loop. Among the requirements for the decoration: "Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game", "Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork", and "With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system" (click here for the full list of requirements).

Now, I love a good video game as much as the next person. But being an Eagle Scout and having been a Cub Scout before that, I have to say that this is about the silliest thing that the Boy Scouts of America has done in a great many moon. And lest y'all think that I'm being old-fashioned or a "stick in the mud", consider this: there are already awards in Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts for things like computer skills. So one for video gaming is plenty redundant. What's next: a merit badge for Facebook and Twitter skillz?

In addition to Video Games, the Boy Scouts are also rolling out awards for Disability Awareness, Family Travel, Good Manners, Hiking, Hockey, Horseback Riding, Kickball, Nutrition, Pet Care, Photography, Reading and Writing, and Skateboarding. I can see at least two on that list that are not only fun to do, but very strong skills that can follow a young lad (or young lass, no male chauvinists we!) into a life of productive success. Seems like the Cub Scouts could be doing more to encourage early forays into things like that.

(But then, who knows? One of those Cub Scouts might grow up to be the next Ken Levine or Cliff Bleszinski...)


Pumpkin_King said...

I couldn't disagree more. This is finally the "mainstream" world throwing games a bone instead of bashing and restricting them like they always have. They're recognizing that video games are a legitimate form of entertainment rather than an evil useless brain-melting time waster. Would you rather the Scouts teach kids good gameplaying habits and time restrictions, or say vidja gaems are the debbil and need to be burned?

Chris Knight said...

"Would you rather the Scouts teach kids good gameplaying habits and time restrictions, or say vidja gaems are the debbil and need to be burned?"

Actually, I'd much rather see the Scouts encourage playing more games like Dungeons & Dragons (which employs creative thinking and math ability) and Warhammer 40,000 (more math, plus having to think strategically... not to mention arguably some handicraft skills like painting and metalworking.

I'm not kidding.

AfterShock said...

Looking through the full requirements, I see several problems that may prevent the majority of the kids from ever attaining this merit award - even if I don't agree with them having one in the first place.

I think the biggest hurdle in the list is getting the parents, or other family members, to be involved in the first place. Most parents view videogaming as nothing more than babysitting to keep the kids out of their way. They could care less a lot of times. Trust me, I see this all the time working at Wal-Mart in the Electronics department.

That leads me to my other big point - parents typically don't care what their kids are playing. Actual response from all sorts of parents when I tell them about how a game is mature rated and show them the reasons on the back of the game - "Well, little has already played this at a friend's house, so what difference does it make" or, "Well, they already have the other two". No lie that I have lost count of how many times I have heard those responses, even when a 10 year-old wanted to buy Grand Theft Auto. It really doesn't do a lot of good to have a ratings system and then have the parents just plain ignore it due to apathetic behavior.

On top of that, the BSA wants the kids to learn about the video game rating system, but then tell them to learn to play a new game "approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher." This takes us right back to the apathetic nature of most parents when dealing with video games.

/rant off

Just so you know, I am a parent of a 12 year-old - the difference is I grew up playing video games and try to set a good example for my son. I also try to take an active approach to gaming with him rather than just him talking about it with me.

Matt said...

I would certainly hope that one of those kids would grow up to be better than the next Ken Levine or Cliff Bleszinski. The next Chahi or Avellone would be much more appreciated.

Anonymous said...


I agree wholeheartedly.

(Though "the next Avellone" may be asking too much. Such genius is so rare.)

Matt said...

I never said I was being realistic! I just said what I wanted to happen. :)