Parents have another enemy in the battle against television and video games. The Boy Scouts of America are now essentially sanctioning video games by offering a video game badge. However, this badge is a good thing for a few reasons.
It’s not exactly what you may think. Scouts are not being rewarded for advancing to the next level of Super Mario Brothers, they’re actually being forced to put some thought into the issues surrounding video games. Rather than completely ignore video games and other activities that keep scouts inside, the Boy Scouts are embracing the enemy and actually starting the difficult discussion about video game violence, rating systems, and why video games aren’t the only way to be entertained. Scouts are asked to think critically and probably in a different light about their video games. It may also encourage scouts to spend less time playing video games and more time, well, thinking. Even if it’s just thinking about video games, it’s a step in the right direction. So what does it take to earn this coveted and controversial badge?
To receive a “Video Games belt loop,” they must do the following:
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.
Earning the “Academics Pin” takes a bit more. Scouts need to have acquired the “belt loop,” as well as completed the following:
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.