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. The Scouts say that parents need to face up to the fact that gameplay is already a part of so many kids' daily lives, and that the merit challenges could harness some of that interest into a more constructive end. "Let's be serious: the kids are already into video games," says Renee Fairrer, a spokeswoman for the BSA. "You can't sit on the couch for 13 hours a day and play video games. We want to get them when they're that Cub Scout age, when they have that strong parental influence, to be able to make those decisions.""
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