May 1st, 2010

Boy Scouts to earn badges for playing video games

Telegraph (UK)

The Boy Scouts of America have expanded their awards from outdoor activities to include indoor pursuits, a move that has some purists shaking their heads.

The new awards program gives the seven-to-11-year-old Cub Scouts members “belt loop and pins” for mastery of Playstation, X-Box and Wii video games, but the children must also prove they understand the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings.

The ratings system recommends video games appropriate to a child’s age “so we can arm the parents with good information, how to make the determination if its something they want,” Boy Scouts spokesman Renee Fairrer said.

“Video games are in two-thirds of American homes. That’s a pretty good number of people; they are in our schools, in most libraries,” he said, explaining the reason behind the new awards program.

And the Boy Scouts are sure video games will not turn their younger members into couch potatoes.

“We have 53 programs and 28 of them are sports related like skateboard, rollers, hockey. It’s a good balance,” Mr Fairrer said.

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