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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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  • Oh yeah (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @04:44AM (#32027448) Journal

    Oh yeah, because sitting on a chair and moving a mouse around so teaches one how to handle a real assault rifle, and for that matter so prepares one to sprint with 60 pounds of equipment.

    Not to mention other valuable lessons. While those dumb Russkies and Chinese go like sheep and run at the enemy with a gun, as ordered, our brave NATO troops will be where it matters: camping an airstrip so they can fly an airplane into a hill ;)

    I guess next thing you know they'll progress to other games, and the USA will have the first army who knows how to bunny-hop, grenade jump and spawn-camp. And woe to Osama once they learn where on the map are the BFG and quad damage ;)

  • Way to go (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @05:22AM (#32027568)

    It was appearantly not enough to put off every halfway liberal person by their quite questionable membership policies, now they're working hard to alienate their conservative supporters.

    Just like I always say, give someone enough rope and he'll somehow manage to hang himself.

  • Disclaimer: Cub Scouts was awesome and I remember most the warm feeling when the scouts gathered at a parents house. Video games would fit that atmosphere. The requirements are actually not so bad I think for this badge. Whereas I dropped out of Boy Scouts after some years when the bullying overwhelmed the exciting but life threatening campouts (8 miles into the wilderness in freezing winter, other scouts trying to burn down your tent, etc.) loved the hiking though.

    Okay in this video merit badge for cub scouts I am worried about these lines:

    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.

    It seems to require you to buy games in a store and the purchasing experience is emphasized. Being aware of the return policy is good but there seems to be a requirement to buy something. What if you want to use Free (or free) Software? Likewise "install a gaming system" could mean install a linux system on an old PC, and download some free games for it. So I think it would be better for cubs to emphasize the noncommercial aspect.
    Also there is the cost of hardware, whether a console or not. If you can use an existing computer then the "install" could really mean just doing a software install.

    I think it would be great if linux distro's sites had a page for Cub Scouts to learn about Free Software and guide them to fulfilling all the requirements for these badges and belt loops using Linux.

  • Re:Oh yeah (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blennidae ( 650683 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @07:56AM (#32028204)
    As a civilian, I had the opportunity several years ago to use some weapons that were modified to use compressed air (simulate recoil, etc.) to shoot at targets on a movie screen. Re-enacting things like hostage situations in an office, traffic stops gone wrong, etc. Let me just say that using an M-16, SAW or Mossberg for any length of time (over 5 minutes) is *definitely* different than pointing and clicking with a mouse and that video games in NO WAY prepare anyone for the reality of using actual weapons. I don't remember the actual name of this one rifle a Marine pulled out of the storage closet and was handling it like a toothpick. He handed it off to me and I just about fell face first just from the weight of it. Nothing like having combat veterans laugh at a "dumb-ass civilian" to start your day out.
  • by m4n1m4l ( 871497 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:55AM (#32028710)
    Let's look at the actual requirements at It says, "Play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour." That means one hour, once. Furthermore, that requirement is one of nine, only six of which must be fulfilled in order to earn the Video Games pin. As a scout leader, I can tell you that the Boy Scouts of America does not promote spending a lot of time playing video games. We do, however, recognize that video games are a normal part of a kid's life experience. So why not teach our kids how to evaluate systems and games from every aspect? Why not teach them how to think critically about selecting and playing video games? There is no specific mention in the BSA guidelines about first-person shooters or any other kind of game. The requirement is to understand the ESRB rating system, to be able to explain it, and to be able to make good choices about selecting games. The guidelines don't even prescribe what it means to make good choices; rather, they assume that the boys and their parents are intelligent enough to make their own decisions. I am a software developer, lifelong gamer, and dad of a scout.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:06AM (#32028836)
    Yeah, it's just as bad as the Girl Scouts policies fear and ignorance regarding men leading the troupe and chaperoning events.
  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:23AM (#32029088) Journal
    "When I was a Cub scout, I was programming my TI-57 calculator."

    Yeah, and I built a crystal radio when I was seven (we didn't have calculators in the 60's). I'm not saying kids under 10 are stupid but if you set the bar too high the majority will lose interest. A kid needs to be keenly interested before they do remarkable stuff and even then there may not be a great deal of understanding about what they are doing.

    For example: when my daughter was 4 I was amazed to see her one day start up my XT from a floppy, type in some commands at the dos prompt, navigate through a complex text based menu system and start playing "Ug Olympics". I asked her how she could do this without being able to read or write, her reply - "You showed me and I remebered it". I hadn't actually "shown" her anything, she had just watched me set up her favorite game for her.

    "New math might have been the worst thing to happen to me academically."

    I know what you mean, I was a victim of "new english". Despite being ranked in the 95th percentile for comprehension at HS, I didn't know the difference between a verb and a noun until I was 30 and studing for my degree. Even at 50 it still requires effort to avoid some of the bad habits I was taught in grade school.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian