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Cub Scouts To Offer Merit Pin For Video Gaming 366

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."


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Cub Scouts To Offer Merit Pin For Video Gaming

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  • Best price (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert@slashdot. f i r e n z e> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @04:02AM (#32027312) Homepage

    Do you get extra credit for working out that piracy provides the best price?

  • by madwheel ( 1617723 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @04:33AM (#32027418)
    So much for Boy Scouts sticking to what its roots were in the 1900's. What's next? Oh yeah... Sleeping badge. You eat 12 cookies, drink a glass of milk, then sleep for 14 hours a day for a full week! It's the ultimate badge that takes a lot of hard work.
  • In other words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JimboFBX ( 1097277 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @04:36AM (#32027428)

    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.

    So in other words, as long as they aren't fun games

  • Really? This? Are you going to have a merit badge for going to the movies?

    How about you work on some of those long standing issues like your discrimination against gays, and non-Christians?

  • How much lower can it go? They already discriminate (and still get funds from various governments).

  • by Thiez ( 1281866 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @05:55AM (#32027706)

    Heterosexual people don't have sexual problems?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @06:13AM (#32027768)

    Christians don't have sexual problems?

  • by stupidflanders ( 1230894 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @06:16AM (#32027780)
    They're embracing something that kids are doing anyway. The Scouts have been modifying their program in recent years. They now have a leadership position for Troop Webmaster [], a Jamboree on the Internet [] and have wholeheartedly embraced Geocaching []. I would have thought this would be marked as one giant leap for nerd-kind. They're saying it's OK to play video games. Where's the "HUZZAH"?

    The requirements talk about comparing prices of games & consoles (and store return policies), teaching others how to play games, balancing homework/videogames, and picking games that will help improve school skills. You know, the kinds of things we [] discuss [] here [] all [] the [] time []?
  • Re:In other words (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @06:22AM (#32027814)

    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.

    So in other words, as long as they aren't fun games

    You need to learn the difference between Fox's "commentary" and the Real World. Out in the Real World, nothing in the requirements for the award says they can't play FPSs. []

  • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @06:23AM (#32027818)
    No first person shooters? Are the scouts aware that they actually offer a merit badge in SHOOTING.

    People are up in arms because these violent video games "train young people how to operate weapons". No, they don't. You know what does train young people to use guns? Learning to shoot in the boy scouts.

    JESUS FUCKING CHRIST. No one is bitching about REAL guns with REAL bullets shooting REAL targets, but the second it becomes virtual everyone throws a fucking hissy fit.
  • by The Hatchet ( 1766306 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @06:49AM (#32027922)

    Scouts does have problems, but to be fair I am an atheist, and my Eagle board of review new it, and awarded me the rank anyways. When asked about 'Reverence' I simply answered that I possess reverence, for the mighty forces of nature, that when I am 10 miles into the woods on the top of a snow covered hill, I understand that nature can kill you on a whim. They responded positively.

    Also, a lot of people call scouts 'gay' even though it tends to discriminate against homosexuals. I just find that amusing. I think we should merge boy and girl scouts to just have 'scouts'. Canada does that and it works fine, but in the US? Hell no, they might see each others parts in the group shower, and that would just be the end of the world. The ground would turn to lava and hell would swallow up all the sinners. At least thats what I am told.

    Cub scouts really is a crock, as is Girl scouts. My ex was a girl scout, and their merit badges were like sandwich making, how to keep a kitchen clean, knitting, needlepoint, parenting. Not even kidding.

  • by mjwalshe ( 1680392 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:05AM (#32027988)
    Highly ironic as the Scouts where set up to teach "scouting" a set of skills used in the military as a result of Baden Powel’s experiences in the Boer war. And presumably American scouts have badges related to shooting real guns :-)
  • by Vultan ( 468899 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:13AM (#32028020)

    No first person shooters? Are the scouts aware that they actually offer a merit badge in SHOOTING.

    I'm the last person to depend Scouting (they've really gone off the deep end in recent years), but I should at least point out that the Rifle Shooting merit badge [] significantly emphasizes gun safety and appropriate use. I remember my own experiences from scout camp as a kid where they were hyper-vigilant about safety, only using guns for target practice, and so on. Again, I'm not defending Scouting in general or guns in particular, but there is a big difference between learning how to shoot targets with a rifle (with a high emphasis placed on safety and understanding of the dangers) and shooting up aliens in a first-person shooter.

  • by iiioxx ( 610652 ) <> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:17AM (#32028040)

    JESUS FUCKING CHRIST. No one is bitching about REAL guns with REAL bullets shooting REAL targets, but the second it becomes virtual everyone throws a fucking hissy fit.

    There's a pretty significant difference between an adult teaching a child marksmanship on paper targets, and violent video games where 99% of the time the *targets* are other human beings, and there is little to no moral context for the violence. There is nothing inherently evil about "REAL guns with REAL bullets." A firearm can be used to provide food and security, or it can be used to harm others maliciously, depending upon the intent of the operator. I learned to shoot as a child at a Boy Scout camp, and it taught me respect for firearms safety, the patience to achieve accurate marksmanship, and pride in my growth and achievement in a real-world skill. What exactly do these hypothetical Cub Scouts learn from playing Halo?

  • by dogmatixpsych ( 786818 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:05AM (#32028282) Journal
    Yes, but the scout shooting merit badges teach proper gun safety (which no video game really does) and you are not shooting at living things (real or virtual). Maybe I've just missed the complaints but I've never read a complaint against violent video games because they "train young people how to operate weapons." The complaints I've read are more like "the kids are exposed to violence and gore" for hours on end" which exposure can desensitize kids (and adults) to violence or "children might imitate the violence in violent games [by acting out more aggressively".

    I am a psychologist. One thing we know quite certainly is that when kids are exposed to violence, they will (not all kids of course, but statistically speaking) act more aggressively. This research goes back to the 1950s and has been replicated over and over. Research specifically with violent games shows the same thing. When viewing violence, people do become desensitized to violence.

    Shooting guns isn't violence. Shooting guns at things can be (it depends on the thing and it depends on a person's attitude when shooting). Besides as someone who was a scout and is still involved in scouting, I can say that with shooting merit badges you spend most of your time learning how to care for and safely operate guns and not a lot of time shooting. Games do not teach gun safety but scouting does.
  • by Bakkster ( 1529253 ) <Bakkster,man&gmail,com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:29AM (#32028448)

    In all honesty, kids don't need more encouragement to game. Yes I'm a parent, but I'm young enough to still be a gamer and trust me, I didn't/don't need more encouragement.

    Have you read the requirements? [] It's using video games as a cover to teach useful skills. For example, how to research a purchase, about the ESRB and content ratings, how to schedule leisure time so it doesn't interfere with responsibilities, and how to connect a console to a television. It's teaching them to play responsibly, which is probably more than they had done before, while teaching them a few more life skills.

  • by mc1138 ( 718275 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:05AM (#32028830) Homepage
    This is Cub Scouts, not Boy Scouts, the distinction may be small, but Cub Scouts works with kids in 1st through 5th grade or so. A big big part of Cub Scouts is working with kids on being grounded and responsible. With video games becoming such a large part of our society, having something that helps kids approach them responsibly, which if you read the requirements it has more to do with understanding game ratings (also good for parents) and making sure that you don't play too much than anything else. I say good job to Scouting for keeping up with the times. Also, this isn't the first time badge to deal with this, Boy Scouts already have merit badges dealing with computer's and other more technical activities as well.
  • by Bakkster ( 1529253 ) <Bakkster,man&gmail,com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:06AM (#32028850)

    This latest move is stunning in it's lameness, but not really surprising, given their increasingly desperate attempt to remain relevant.

    Really? Perhaps you are just ignorant of the requirements. [] It's teaching personal responsibility, time management, and how to spend money wisely, it just uses video games as a trick to interest the boys. Why? Because they're 11-years old, at the oldest!

    And how is disallowing homosexuals (or atheists) based on 'fear and ignorance'? Why not the simpler explanation of 'it doesn't fit with our moral beliefs'? Are you saying they should compromise on their morals, just to be politically correct?

  • by ZekoMal ( 1404259 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:59AM (#32029548)
    Yeah, I agree. It's far more dangerous to teach a kid how to virtually fire a weapon at aliens that speak English than it is to teach a kid how to operate a firearm.

    Wait, what?

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:03AM (#32029590)

    Discrimination exists. There is a reason for it these days.

    Umm, okay. I'm not even going to address this.

    Also what is wrong with organizations using facilities for free?

    It is illegal favoritism. Other organizations are not allowed use of the same facilities for free.

    Did they not help pay for it with their taxes?

    No, the BSA is a not for profit that does not pay taxes. More importantly though, why should some taxpayers be forced to pay utility costs and upkeep fees for facilities that are incurred by an organization that bans their children from joining? If the BSA allowed anyone to join, then I would have a lot less of a problem letting them use government facilities, but when they exclude some citizens, that nixes it for me.

    Are you not being discriminatory yourself?

    No because I'm proposing equal access to all people based upon the criteria of nondiscrimination in the constitution. The government is forbidden from providing favoritism based upon certain criteria including religion. That extends to providing extra perks to private organizations that discriminate on that basis. You do remember the constitution don't you?

    I think the government exists to help people...

    Which it can do by providing free facilities to organizations that follow the guidelines necessary for it to do so legally. The government is not allowed to promote any religion and spending taxpayer dollars subsidizing an organization that does promote specific religions, certainly qualifies.

    I can see the difference between a group of kids getting together with their parents and a rock band playing at a public arena.

    What about a rock band that does not allow Christians to attend? Are you okay with that? What about a club using the public park for the day, but not letting white people in the park that day because whites cannot join said club?

    They did something like that with a local park I used to go to when I grew up.

    Sorry, your anecdote does not apply. The government charging fees for thing is one thing. How would you feel if that same park had started charging fees, but only to registered members of the republican party? That's what we're talking about, unequal treatment for groups based upon criteria specifically forbidden by federal law to be used as criteria for unequal treatment by the government. It's entirely the BSA's choice to discriminate based upon those criteria and that is what makes them ineligible for government benefits; the same as the KKK, Neo Nazis, and the Black Panthers.

  • Re:Oh yeah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tophermeyer ( 1573841 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:20AM (#32029866)

    Plus, combat is stressful. IANAS (Soldier) but I can say that under extremely stressful conditions people that have not had extreme training to handle those situations tend to lose a great deal of their higher cognitive and memory functions. If you are scrambling to point one of those things at an armored vehicle that is trying to kill you, taking the time to read and understand instructions or to remember a 3 day training you received years ago will be difficult. Having simple little images that show you how to use the thing are majorly helpful. At the very least, they don't hurt anything.

You are in a maze of little twisting passages, all different.