Chubby Cubbies? Merit Badges Given for Playing Video Games

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

You can argue the Boy Scouts are just entering the 21st century by creating a new "video game" badge, but what about the whole "childhood obesity" thing? Don't worry, the group says: This will not create chubby cubbies.

So, in addition to non-virtual things like knot tying and plumbing, scouts can now earn merit badges for video games. No, we're not kidding -- and the badge is super easy to get.

Traditionally, the Scouts encouraged off-the-couch activities like camping, rifle and shotgun shooting, and training. But the Scouts admit times are changing, and an organization has to stay relevant... we guess.

"Let's be serious: the kids are already into video games," said Renee Fairrer, a spokeswoman for the Boy Scouts of America. Fairrer said the hope is that the Scouts can help teach kids good habits for playing the games.

"You can't sit on the couch for 13 hours a day and play video games," she said. "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."

The scouts have to pick games that "help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork."

Forty-Seven Guys Killed in Grant Theft Auto. See, Mom, I'm doing math.

In all fairness, they have to have parental supervision in buying and playing the game.

Scouts can earn two types of badges -- a Belt Loop and an Academic Pin. Here are the requirements for the Belt Loop:

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.

And for the Academic Pin:

1) 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.