Boy Scouts to get video game awards

Here's one you wouldn't expect from the Boy Scouts: a badge for playing video games and learning about ESRB ratings.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Video games belt loop
The video games belt loop Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America has added two awards for kids to earn, the group announced Wednesday. But the focus of these awards might surprise you.

Rather than teach survival techniques, the awards will allow scouts to earn a belt loop or academics pin by playing video games.

Earning the belt loop is actually quite simple. Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts can get the loop by explaining "why it is important to have a rating system for video games." They also need to "create a schedule" that includes "chores, homework, and video gaming." Finally, the kids need to play a new game that's been approved by a parent or guardian.

Getting the gaming academic pin is a bit more involved. The kid will need to research games to find a title right for his age group, examine the differences between two game consoles, play a game with family members, and teach someone else how to play video games.

Once that work is completed, the scout is expected to create a list of tips to help others play his favorite game, as well as play a multiplayer title with a buddy for at least an hour. To add an educational element, a scout must also play a game that helps with mathematical or spelling skills, compare prices of games at three stores, and, finally, "install a gaming system" under the supervision of an adult.

As surprising as it might be that the Boy Scouts of America would be offering gaming awards, earning the belt loop or the academic pin does deliver information to kids. They should know how ESRB ratings work, and they may as know to how install a game system since that will be a part of their lives going forward.