New Video Game Boy Scouts “Merit Badge” is Not A Merit Badge

As an Eagle Scout, former assistant scoutmaster, and active merit badge councilor, for the Boy Scouts, the ignorant manner with which every single tech and gaming site I frequent has handled the announcement of a new video game “merit badge” has driven me up the wall.

It’s not a merit badge!!!

Do some research!!!

The video game “badge” is in fact, a belt loop and pin, not a badge.

Here are the differences:

Belt loops are for the younger Cub Scouts. We’re talking 2nd and 3rd graders. Young kids.

The requirements to earn the video games belt loop are:

  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.

It’s about encouraging safety and parental involvement.

Pins are for older Cub Scouts. This include 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. Young kids.

The requirements to earn the video games pin are:

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.

This is about parental involvement, safety, and empowering the child.

Merit badges are earned by Boy Scouts ranging from ages 12 to 18.

This video game award has nothing to do them. Merit badges are considerably more complex, and many are downright hard to earn (although a few are remarkably easy).

My point is simple.

This isn’t something to laugh at because “Boy Scouting & TV are enemies,” or “the requirements are too simple/ stupid.” This is for young children, and the intent is to teach them to play age appropriate games, and get them involved in playing games with their family.

I’m happy that the BSA finally decided to acknowledge that kids play video games. It’s about time. The Boy Scout’s National Council deserves criticism for some big issues. This is not one of them.

It would be nice if more private institutions took the time to teach these values. Maybe we wouldn’t have so many legislators wasting time to look for new ways to chip away at the First Amendment to “protect” children from video games.

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