Boy Scouts of America: Badges for Video Games?


Photo from Boy Scouts of America
My husband is an Eagle Scout. I once made the mistake of saying he was an Eagle Scout, which is incorrect because once you achieve the honor of an Eagle Scout, you are always an Eagle Scout.

He corrected me because of how strongly he feels about the role Scouting played in his life growing up and his respect for the organization. Which I admire. 

But still, I'm left scratching my head over this: Cub Scouts (along with Tiger Cubs and Webelos) can earn a merit badge for playing video games. Yes. Video games.

According to the website for Boy Scouts of America, Cub Scouts can earn a loop for completing three requirements. (Only Boy Scouts earn actual merit badges. Cubs can earn loops or pins.) Those three requirements are:

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.

Renee Fairrer, a spokeswoman for the Boy Scouts, told the Wall Street Journal that what really prompted this decision for the Scouts was the release of Nintendo’s Wii. “With young people, there’s an issue with healthiness,” she said. “The Wii Fit is something a child can do in their house.”

I think I understand that the Boy Scouts are trying to be more current in what they offer, and I think the requirements do promote a sense of responsibility, which is good. I also like that they include working with your parents or an adult.

On the other hand, I thought most people enrolled their sons in Scouts to get them out of the house and away from a television set? To be outside and getting fresh air and exercise?

Do you think learning to play a video game is a skill?

activities, boys, video games


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nonmember avatar Glen

I'm sorry but your terribly misinformed.  The Boy Scouts are not giving a merit badge for Video Games.

The Boy Scouts are giving a Belt Loop activity, which is not on the same level as a merit badge.  The Cub Scouts are giving an activity pin for the Webelos program for video games.

toria... toriandgrace

It does appear that they do not get badges for this, from what I'm reading on their website.

I really like the set up. The academics pin requires students to do some fantastic things, teaching a friend to play, comparing and contrasting systems, persuasion, comparing prices at different stores, etc. They are using something current to engage students in academically important skills.

Solera Solera

As a Cub Scout mom, I know about this belt loop/pin and it isn't that they are encouraging the boys to play the games.  The BSA knows the boys are playing the games, and they are encouraging them to be responsible about it, by learning about the rating system so that they can choose age appropriate games, and be responsible about how long they are playing, so that they aren't ignoring their schoolwork and chores.  My son will be earning this belt loop/pin not because he plays the games constantly, but because it helps teach responsibility.

Carey... Carey2006 this day & games have become a SKILL. Just look at our military, they have special programs for kids with these skills...especially with so many of our weapons becoming remote/unmanned.

asil asil

wow... i remember getting a badge for starting a fire with one match... guess kids can't play with matches any more... so video games it is! ha!

clean... cleanaturalady

The difference between Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts is a huge one.  All of the work that boys do in Cub Scouts does not count toward their Eagle Scout status with the exclusion of the Arrow of Light that they earn as a Weebelo.  They have a lot of loops and pins in Cub Scouts like bowling, art, swimming, all sorts of fun things that kids do are worked in to the Cub Scouts.  This is just their way of being relevant to the lives of 6-11 year old boys.

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