The Boy Scouts of America—known for getting kids outside and active—has added a new “academics” pin and belt loop for one of the most sedentary indoor activities around: video games.
According to a Scouts spokesperson, the awards’ introduction was intended to raise awareness of video games as a family activity, including ensuring age-appropriate gaming and effective scheduling so it doesn’t conflict with schoolwork. Added in December—along with other academics honors: good manners, nutrition, pet care and family travel—the video game awards can be earned by Tiger Cubs, Cub and Webelos scouts, but the scouts must work with parents or adult partners to complete requirements.
To earn the belt loop, scouts must:
• 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.
For the “academics” pin, scouts must earn the belt loop and complete five of the following:
• 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.
The Scouts say the new awards acknowledge the realities of 21st century youth and is intended to help families manage gaming effectively.
“When it comes down to these things, a lot of the dads are doing it,” Scouts PR manager Renee Fairrer told PC Magazine. “A little boy wants to do what his dad does, but we apply appropriate knowledge and safeguards.”