No longer do parents have to pry their kids away from video games in order to get them to focus on their scouting activities, because the Boy Scouts of America have instituted a Video Games award for Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts and Webelos.
Well, that’s not entirely true, since the award requires more than just playing video games (sorry, youngsters). Specifically, for a “Belt Loop” Scouts will have to do the following:
- 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.
And for the “Academics Pin”:
- 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.
Scouting has clearly changed a lot since I was a kid. I’m going to resist the temptation to say something really snarky because there are some pretty positive activities in there. I like the idea of a kid having to teach one of his parents how to play a game; gaming can be a great family activity. And making kids think about ESRB ratings and scheduling/balancing video games against the need to do homework and chores seems like a typically socialy responsible Scout-type behavior.
Of course “challenging” a typical kid to play a game with a friend for one hour isn’t exactly pushing boundaries. Maybe it should have been “for no more than 1 hour.” Playing for that short a time could be tough!