Boy Scouts Offer New Merit Pin -- for Video Gaming
                        By Joseph Abrams - FOX News.com - April 28, 2010
                                                   scouting.org
The Boy Scouts of America — a group founded on the principles of building character and improving physical fitness —
have introduced a brand new award for academic achievement in video gaming, a move that has child health experts
atwitter.








The new video game merit pin being offered to Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts.
A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous and kind — and completely addicted to Nintendo Wii.

The Boy Scouts of America — a group founded on the principles of building character and improving physical fitness —
have introduced a brand new award for academic achievement in video gaming, a move that has child health experts
atwitter.

"It could be quite visionary and exciting or it could be a complete sellout," said Dr. Vic Strasburger, professor of
Pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

"The devil is in the details," said Strasburger, who argued that teaching kids media literacy would be extremely valuable —
as long as the games were free of the violent and sexual content that dominate so many popular titles.
"I don't see anything wrong with that as long as they're not playing first-person shooter games, violent games, games with
a lot of sexual or drug content. The question is, who's going to supervise the scouts?"

While demanding adult oversight, the Scouts are now encouraging their youngest members to explore the Great Indoors
and "learn to play a new video game" approved by their parents and guardians.
It's a large step for the Scouts, who have traditionally promoted physical activities like camping and sports alongside
personal pursuits that foster citizenship.

That means video game merit pins are competing for modern scouts' shortened attention spans alongside the more
traditional academic activities that Cub Scouts embrace, such as art, astronomy, music and mathematics.
Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts can earn their pins by spending an hour a day playing games, teaching
others how to play better, and even researching the best price for games they'd like to buy.
The games must "help you practice your math, spelling, or another skill that helps you in your schoolwork," according to
the online guidelines.

The Scouts say we need to face up to the fact that gameplay is already a part of so many kids' daily lives, and that the
merit challenges could harness some of that interest into a more constructive end.
"Let's be serious: the kids are already into video games," said Renee Fairrer, a spokeswoman for the Boy Scouts of
America.

Fairrer said Scouts frequently try to focus youthful energy and interest through safe and constructive channels. Most boys
are already interested in firearms, she said, so the Scouts offer Rifle Shooting and Shotgun Shooting badges to teach
proper safety protocols to older members.

Fairrer said the Scouts hope to prevent kids from becoming couch potatoes and developing juvenile diabetes by teaching
them proper gaming habits at an early age.

"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" and see it as only a
small part of their daily life.

In all, the Scouts have introduced 13 new merit pins this year for a wide range of topics: Disability Awareness, Family
Travel, Good Manners, Hiking, Hockey, Horseback Riding, Kickball, Nutrition, Pet Care, Photography, Reading and
Writing, Skateboarding, and Video Games.
New Video Gaming Merit Badge - Boy SCouts
miketomich.com
We sent a letter to the Boy and Girl Scout Leaders when we first saw this article, asking them to delete this merit
badge because of children developing arthritic finger deformities from video gaming (see Module 1, miketomich.com)
Do not allow your child to seek this merit badge.
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