Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Image

Cub Scouts To Offer Merit Pin For Video Gaming 366

Posted by samzenpus
from the be-prepared-to-play dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Fox News reports that the Boy Scouts of America — a group founded on the principles of building character and improving physical fitness — have introduced merit pins for academic achievement in video gaming, a move that has child health experts atwitter. 'It could be quite visionary and exciting or it could be a complete sellout,' says Dr. Vic Strasburger. 'I don't see anything wrong with that as long as they're not playing first-person shooter games, violent games, games with a lot of sexual or drug content. The question is, who's going to supervise the scouts?' Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts can earn their pins by spending an hour a day playing games, teaching others how to play better, and researching the best price for games they'd like to buy."

*

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cub Scouts To Offer Merit Pin For Video Gaming

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Oh yeah (Score:3, Informative)

    by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @05:24AM (#32027580) Journal

    Easy to operate, technically yes. Easy to operate _effectively_, no. Otherwise we could just forget about training the troops that much. There's more to using that gun than knowing where to "click" so it shoots stuff. Someone whose only training was using a mouse in a FPS, sorry, I don't think they'll be particularly good at it. Or not before getting just about as much training as someone who hasn't played FPS.

  • Re:Oh yeah (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @05:27AM (#32027600)

    Yet I'm sure shoulder mounted launchers from the US have a "this end to enemy" warning sticker.

    yeah, the M72 LAW even has some funny stick figure drawings detailing how to operate it.
    also, the claymore anti-personnel mine really has "FRONT TOWARD ENEMY" written all over the "business end".. see wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Oh yeah (Score:4, Informative)

    by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @06:16AM (#32027786)
    "Seriously, assault rifles have point-and-click interfaces. Guns are ridiculously easy to operate." Spoken exactly like someone who has never handled a weapon in their life.

    Why don't you go down to the range one day and say that to someone who actually owns a gun. See how many shots you can land with any respectable accuracy.

    "Seriously, assault rifles have point-and-click interfaces. Guns are ridiculously easy to operate."
    Any dipshit can point and fire a rifle WITHOUT ANY VIDEOGAMES. A crazed man with a gun and videogames is no different from a crazed man with a gun.
  • by MasterPatricko (1414887) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @06:46AM (#32027906) Homepage

    Ignoring Fox's propaganda, the list of tasks a scout has to do to earn this is pretty decent. Considering these kids are gonna be playing anyway, why not teach them to play right ...I see nothing to complain about in the following list.

    Belt Loop
    Complete these three requirements:
    1. Explain why it is important to have a rating system for video games. Check your video games to be sure they are right for your age.
    2. With an adult, create a schedule for you to do things that includes your chores, homework, and video gaming. Do your best to follow this schedule.
    3. Learn to play a new video game that is approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher.

    Academics Pin
    Earn the Video Games belt loop and complete five of the following requirements:
    1. With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
    2. Compare two game systems (for example, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and so on). Explain some of the differences between the two. List good reasons to purchase or use a game system.
    3. Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
    4. Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
    5. List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
    6. Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
    7. Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
    8. Choose a game you might like to purchase. Compare the price for this game at three different stores. Decide which store has the best deal. In your decision, be sure to consider things like the store return policy and manufacturer’s warranty.
    9. With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.

  • Supervision?!? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ATestR (1060586) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @06:53AM (#32027942) Homepage

    The question is, who's going to supervise the scouts?

    These are young boys. The parents are still supposed to be involved at this age. Once they get to boy scouts, then its OK to give them a little bit more freedom.

  • by snowgirl (978879) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:34AM (#32028102) Journal

    Cub Scouts != Boy Scouts

    The Boy Scouts are the ones that hate atheists and gays. Not sure about the Cub Scouts but a quick perusal of the Wikipedia article suggests that they have no such offensive policies.

    Straight from the Wikipedia page:

    The Cub Scouts are a division of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

  • by topsocket (593673) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:40AM (#32028128)
    THIS IS NOT THE BOY SCOUTS. This is an activity belt loop and pin for the Cub Scouts, aged 7 to 12. And if anyone bothered to read the requirements, you would see that the award is a thinly-veiled attempt to teach the boys about thriftiness, enjoying family time, communication, and responsibility. The 3 main requirements have the boy create a schedule to complete homework and chores BEFORE games, explain the video game rating system and why it needed, and play a game that must be approved by a parent. Also, Pickens claims that the Scout can earn an award by playing games 1 hour a day. Nowhere in the requirements that Pickens links to does it state that a certain amount of time MUST be spent gaming. FUD. The Video Game award is only 1 of 13 awards recently released for Cub Scouts:Disability Awareness, Family Travel, Good Manners, Hiking, Hockey, Horseback Riding, Kickball, Nutrition, Pet Care, Photography, Reading and Writing, Skateboarding. I applaud BSA for updating a program with over 75 years of tradition, making Cub Scouting well rounded and relevant to the modern 7-12 year old boy.
  • by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster@man.gmail@com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:17AM (#32028356)

    More importantly, the cub scout belt loops and pins have always been about leisure activities. There's one for chess, why not one for video games? Besides, these kids are going to spend far more time playing video games than nearly any other subject, why not teach them to do it responsibly? As a secondary effect, their parents will learn about the ESRB ratings system, since one requirement is for the boys to teach their parents about it.

    It's not even like the cubs will gain ranks or advancement from video games. It's just recognition that they've learned something about it. Even if it were a BSA merit badge (which is used for advancement as a boy scout), would a video game merit badge be less useful that indian lore? What about coin collecting? How many scouts do you think earn basket weaving or pottery and go on to use their skills after summer camp is over? As long as they're learning age-appropriate (we're talking 10-year olds) and useful knowledge, I see nothing wrong with it.

    For reference, here are the requirements:

    Requirements for the Video Games Belt Loop
    Complete these three requirements:
    Explain why it is important to have a rating system for video games. Check your video games to be sure they are right for your age.
    With an adult, create a schedule for you to do things that includes your chores, homework, and video gaming. Do your best to follow this schedule.
    Learn to play a new video game that is approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher.

    Requirements for the Video Games Pin
    Earn the Video Games belt loop, and complete five of the following requirements:
    With your parents, create a plan to buy a video game that is right for your age group.
    Compare two game systems (for example, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and so on). Explain some of the differences between the two. List good reasons to purchase or use a game system.
    Play a video game with family members in a family tournament.
    Teach an adult or a friend how to play a video game.
    List at least five tips that would help someone who was learning how to play your favorite video game.
    Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour.
    Play a video game that will help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork.
    Choose a game you might like to purchase. Compare the price for this game at three different stores. Decide which store has the best deal. In your decision, be sure to consider things like the store return policy and manufacturer’s warranty.
    With an adult’s supervision, install a gaming system.

  • Re:Oh yeah (Score:3, Informative)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:23AM (#32028402)

    Seriously, assault rifles have point-and-click interfaces. Guns are ridiculously easy to operate.

    That's actually quite funny. Watching someone load and fire an AR-15 for the first time is usually amusing. Will they figure out how to cock it? Will they open the ejection port? And then there's the whole thing about actually aiming and hitting a target. Back in my day, the BSA had a merit badge for rifle and shotgun marksmanship that was a wee bit more applicable.

    That's taught by, you know, the non-video game part of being a cub scout.

    I actually quit the boy scouts as a kid because we didn't do any scouting. Showing up to every meeting and going to clean parks and talk about the evils of drugs wasn't my thing. I actually liked to spend my time out in the woods, hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, etc. Our troop did very little of such things, however, and I quickly lost interest.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:34AM (#32028494)

    Discriminate?

    Yes, they discriminate against people based upon religion and sexual orientation. I have no problem with a private organization doing either, but they should not be eligible for government funding or freebies like they have been getting.

    Government funding? I don't think so.

    Here is a list [about.com] of a few dozen instances where they've lost government aid in various court cases. Mostly it was a case of being allowed to use public facilities free of charge. It includes the cities of Philadelphia and Berkley and the states of Illinois and Oregon in the US. There are still many city and state governments providing assistance to the BSA despite it being illegal favoritism. Sadly too many people in the US are in favor of discrimination against gays and non-christians so politicians are unwilling to do anything about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:41AM (#32028544)

    -- Contrary to the popular belief, there indeed is no God.

    Contrary to popular belief, there is no UID 437 or anyone named Alex Belits

    God

  • Re:Oh yeah (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:18AM (#32029024)

    Pic or isn't true.

    Please say it ain't so. I don't really expect much from the US military by now, but at least I'd expect them to NOT child-proof the guns. What happened to basic training?

    I remember my time in (our) military. Every single piece of equipment we got into our hands was explained THROUGHLY. To the point where you feel like pointing out that you're not an idiot. Usually then someone will prove that the n-th repetition of the same movements is really necessary.

    I can hardly believe the US troops don't go through the same amount of mind-boggling training.

    Here's your pics.

    http://img11.imageshack.us/g/law00.jpg/

    There may be occasions where weapons have to be used by personnel who have not been through basic training in some time or who may not have an active combat role and don't remember everything. Think last-ditch, SHHTF cases where every single able bodied person has to grab a weapon and fight.

    Also the weapons may be supplied to non-English speaking persons in the case of allied insurgents/irregular troops/partisans being trained by Special Forces.

  • Re:Oh yeah (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:25AM (#32029112)

    Why don't you go down to the range one day and say that to someone who actually owns a gun. See how many shots you can land with any respectable accuracy.

    I've never owned a gun, but I did do that once. Did every shot hit the bullseye? Nope. Did every shot land within 3 inches of the centre of the target's chest? Yep. I'm sure that shooting accurately requires lots of practise. I'm also sure that shooting accurately enough to grievously injure someone requires no practise at all.

  • by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster@man.gmail@com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:27AM (#32029132)

    How about a merit badge for creating Web pages or setting up a Web site. Maybe one for completing a simple self-taught course in a simple language like Java?

    Already been done. Computers Merit Badge [meritbadge.org], for Boy Scouts.

    That said, Cub Scout awards are more about participation and providing learning opportunities, rather than judging proficiency. Merit badges, on the other hand, do require a demonstration of proficiency.

  • Re:Best price (Score:4, Informative)

    by Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:31AM (#32029176)

    Nope. Cub Scouts have always shot bows and small rifles.

    I've just gone through the whole thing with my son from Cub Scout to Eagle Scout, I'm an Eagle Scout myself, was Scout Master of his troop for three years, took Wood Badge, and went with the troop to summer camp, Double H and Philmont. Clearly I wouldn't know anything about the program.

    Cub Scouts do not shoot rifles or shotguns. Webelos get to shoot pump action BB guns.

    Boy Scouts get to shoot 22 rifles and shotguns, and older boys (14+) get to shoot black powder rifles. At Philmont they get to shoot 30-06 rifles in addition to shotgun and black powder.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:48AM (#32029384)

    I'm posting AC because I am not an authorized spokesperson for the Boy Scouts of America. I am, however, a Unit Commissioner for the BSA and have been actively involved in Scouting since my now-16-year-old son was 9. (A unit commissioner is a district-level position which is usually in a supervisory role over several troops.)

    The BSA does not discriminate against non-Christians. In fact, if you read any of the literature, they go out of their way to include other faiths. Note that I said other faiths. Yes, there is a clear gap there for atheists and agnostics. There are religious awards that are available for myriad faiths (including multiple denominations of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, and many others) that are all accorded equal respect and the knot awarded looks the same for all of them. (The knot is actually a small patch with a specific set of colors and a type of knot depicted on it.) Only the pin (looks like a military-style medal) is different based on the faith involved because it usually incorporates some emblem of the faith in question.

    It is no secret that a large number of Scout troops are chartered by religious organizations. Guess what the most prevalent religion is in the USA? Various Christian denominations! Therefore, more Scout troops are chartered by Christian churches than by other religious organizations. This should be no surprise. Sometimes, local civic organizations will charter Scout troops, but usually churches tend to do it.

    The homosexuality issue is a different story, however. I am not entirely sure why that policy is in place because the only objections I can understand are already covered by the two-deep leadership policy which clearly states that no Scout leader is to be alone with a Scout who is not his or her child, there must always be another adult leader present. The child's parent or legal guardian can 'substitute' for the second adult leader in the case of that child. While not foolproof, it does afford some protection.

  • Re:Oh yeah (Score:5, Informative)

    by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:09AM (#32029692) Journal
    It always screws up my suspension of disbelief whenever I see someone fire a rocket launcher (like the M72) or recoilless rifle (like the Carl Gustav [wikipedia.org]) from a helicopter or a window in a building. The backblast of the former will kill anyone within one or two hundred metres to the rear of the weapon, and up to 300 metres for the Carl G. Similar for similar weapons of similar size. They'd blow their own helicopter out of the sky if they did that. They'd incinerate themselves as the backblast blew back on them in the room if fired from a window. I remember standing up a hill about a half mile behind a Carl G being fired and feeling a stiff warm wind blowing my clothes tight to my body. The safety NCO's on ranges (who normally stand 10 or 20 feet to the side) need to rotate through every few firings to ensure they don't suffer damage just from watching due to the huge pressure wave generated when firing. I've seen guys get bleeding noses or their watch crystals pop off after watching half a dozen firings. At least with the Carl G., the gunner who stands directly under the weapon is in a 'quiet' zone and the most you feel is a solid thump on your chest (but it is still a good idea to open your throat so that there is an open pipe from the outside to your lungs so that you minimize the pressure differential if you make your lungs into a closed air sack by holding your breath). If you have a weapon that requires a loader (like the Carl G), he is just out of the quiet zone and gets a good wallop too. People watching movies, the news, or playing video games just don't have any idea of how powerful these things are (and they are the smaller of these weapons now-a-days). Understanding academically doesn't count. You have to experience it.
  • Re:Oh yeah (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster@man.gmail@com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:10AM (#32029714)

    Back in my day, the BSA had a merit badge for rifle and shotgun marksmanship that was a wee bit more applicable.

    Still [meritbadge.org] do [meritbadge.org]. Archery, too.

    I actually quit the boy scouts as a kid because we didn't do any scouting. Showing up to every meeting and going to clean parks and talk about the evils of drugs wasn't my thing. I actually liked to spend my time out in the woods, hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, etc. Our troop did very little of such things, however, and I quickly lost interest.

    Sounds like you had a lousy troop. It's unfortunate you weren't able to find a better one. That said, I think the public service aspect is equally important, but it shouldn't overshadow camping and outdoorsmanship.

    There are definitely too many troops set up as 'Eagle factories', where they just rush to get the minimum requirements for Eagle done as quickly as possible. Quite a shame.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:11AM (#32030912)

    Any boy that meets the age requirements can join scouting. There is no discrimination there.

    This is not quite true. Fact check from Wikipedia:

    The Boy Scouts of America's position is that atheists and agnostics cannot participate as Scouts (youth members) or Scouters (adult leaders). According to the Bylaws of the BSA, Declaration of Religious Principle:

    "The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, ‘On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law.’ The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members."

    During the membership application process and as a requirement to obtain membership, youths and adults are required to subscribe to the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle and to agree to abide by the Scout Oath and Law, which include the words, "do my duty to God" and "reverent". Youths are also required to repeat the Scout Oath and Law periodically after being accepted as Scouts. The BSA believes that atheists and agnostics are not appropriate role models of the Scout Oath and Law for boys, and thus will not accept such adults as leaders.[4]

  • Re:Oh yeah (Score:3, Informative)

    by jafac (1449) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @05:38PM (#32037376) Homepage

    Well, Baden-Powell's (not that he's some kind of deity or anything, he wasn't) original reason for starting scouting in the first place was really more of a means of getting boys off the streets, giving them a structured environment for learning skills for self-reliance, etc. (Well, quite honestly, the real reason was probably, he was a veteran, war-hero, retired, rich, and bored, and maybe had guilt-issues to resolve and wanted to give-back? - who knows?)

    Granted, it's evolved into something much more than that; and granted, the original vision was based on "scoutcraft" which is the skillset he accumulated while serving colonial britain, in various remote regions of the world - he did this with a positive outlook; (as most colonial/imperial powers ever have done) - "we're civilizing them, bringing them as peacefully as we can under one modern, Christian/(honestly, more unitarian) rule). "Scoutcraft" had to do with revering the "locals" (Indian/African/native tribes) just enough to gain their friendship and trust, in order to accomplish roughly the same goals that US Army Rangers do today: win hearts and minds, get the locals to fight our battles for us, yeild intelligence for the main forces, etc. If you look on it in harsh terms, it's really not at all pretty. If it didn't involve boys - well, it very likely could have included how to do long-range head-shots with a rifle, how to instruct cavalry regiments in finding the proper location for mass-graves after slaughtering entire villages, and even primitive biological warfare with smallpox-infested blankets.

    (FWIW; Baden-Powell was known to have dabbled in Nazi-ism, and later denied it. We all make mistakes, eh? I'm not saying he was a monster, either, but he was very much a part of the zeitgeist of imperial, or at least post-imperial britain).

    Other, more practical elements of scoutcraft, of course, knot tying, camping, fire building, camping, wilderness survival, all that fun stuff. Much has been added since the 18th century "military scout" definition.

    But the point of modern scouting, as we adherents like to think - is all about teaching boys life and leadership skills. I don't think most units even do a lot of the hardcore camping and hiking anymore. Especially the ones outside the USA.

    As it applies to boys aged 5 to 11 (cub scouts); in the 21st century. . . navigating our modern-equivalent "colonial wilderness" (the Internet), I think this achievement pin is freaking spot-on. And I say that as a Scoutmaster. I would absolutely have encouraged my son to look at this one.

  • by snowgirl (978879) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @05:54PM (#32037620) Journal

    From the Wikipedia page:

    A religious emblem of faith, or some other form of religiousity, is a requirement for the Bear and Webelos badges, and by extension the Arrow of Light.

    So, they are religiously discriminating.

    From the "Membership controversy page" on Wikipedia:

    The Boy Scouts of America makes a division between its Scouting programs and the Learning for Life program. The Scouting programs are Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, and Venturing. The policies that are considered controversial apply only to the Scouting programs.

    Also in 2001, the BSA "revoked the charters of several Cub Scout packs in Oak Park, Illinois, because the sponsors, a parent-teacher group, adhered to a nondiscrimination policy."

    In 1991, twin brothers William and Michael Randall, who had refused to recite the "duty to God" portion of the Cub Scout Promise and Boy Scout Oath, sued to be allowed to continue in the program (see Randall v. Orange County Council and Welsh v. Boy Scouts of America).[49] In addition, there were several other lawsuits involving essentially the same issues.[50] Ultimately, the courts ruled in favor of the Boy Scouts of America in each case.

    Any cursory Google search will show that Cub Scouts has actively discriminated against atheists, and LGBT persons.

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -- Niels Bohr

Working...