The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
I heard this story on the news this morning, and perhaps you
did too...about how the Boy Scouts have a new badge for playing video games
(I'm serious). Depending on where you read the story, it's all kinds of
biased...For one, it's not the Boy Scouts, it's the Cub Scouts...which
apparently there is an age difference that separates the two. For two, most of
the news reports make it sound like the Boy Scouts have gone over to the dark
side by welcoming video games into the perceived Boy Scout utopian world of
helping old ladies across the street and sitting around the campfire singing
Of the news articles I've read...they're all garbage.
Playing video games is not a crime and journalists that unfairly characterize
them as being a bad influence aren't journalists at all. But that's a whole
different topic for some other blog...
Now let me say, I am not now nor have I ever been a Boy
Scout, Cub Scout, Tiger Cub, Webelos Scout, Royal Ranger or Weeble Wobble and
they don’t fall down...though I have considered a stint as a Space Marine.
(Just for the college money though...was going to do my 2 years and get out).
I think programs like these are wonderful ways to keep our
youth actively engaged in interesting activities, so please know that I mean
absolutely no disrespect to these organizations and maintain the highest
respect for those who volunteer to provide our youth (and future leaders) an
outlet to start fires, chop up stuff and interact with nature (which could be interpreted
as capturing and killing wild game) while learning how to use firearms and more
primitive weapons like the bow and arrow (which we might need if there is an
ammo shortage). These skills will all be necessary if we are to survive the
alien invasion that Stephen Hawking has warned us about. All that's left for
them to achieve is video game mastery and their skills will be complete.
So the video game badge only seems like the next logical
I am going to do my part and give the little whippersnappers
some pointers on how they can achieve these real life achievements. I would
encourage each of you who might read this to not take it very seriously and
certainly don't add it to your parenting skills playbook.
Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts may complete
requirements in a family, den, pack, school, or community environment. Tiger
Cubs must work with their parents or adult partners. Parents and partners do
not earn loops or pins.
What the heck is an adult partner? That just sounds a bit on
the weird side...
And parents aren't eligible because we've already completed
all of these requirements, many times over. We would have gold stars on our
video game badge for repeat awards. It would be like saying, here's your award
for breathing today.
Okay, for the Belt Loop Achievement...you have to do the
Complete these three requirements:
Requirement #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.
Well, we're asking 10 year olds to explain something that we
don't even firmly understand ourselves, as witnessed by all the legal battles
in the news lately. Does anyone else see the irony that the State of California, led by Conan
the Predator killer, is suing the video game industry to ban the sale of
violent video games to kids?
Okay Little Johnny, this is why it is important to have a
rating system for video games. It's called plausible deniability, which is a
legal concept and refers to a lack of evidence proving an allegation. So, if
you get older and do something very bad, like use your spiffy pocket knife you
got for earning your wood carving patch to stab your sister in the face for
eating all the green M and Ms, the video game industry can use it as a shield
when your defense attorney (that silly man in the tie who stands next to you
when you're handcuffed) blames it on them when he should be blaming it on your
lousy parents who had no involvement or oversight into what you were doing
behind that closed door for hours on end. But alas, mom and dad are paying the
attorney fees, so they certainly can't be held responsible.
Rating systems will never (or should never) remove the
responsibility of the parent(s) (or adult partner) to monitor their child's
activity and/or be held accountable for their actions.
For the second part of the requirement, unless you're into
Square Bob Sponge Pants (or is it Sponge Bob Square Pants, I honestly don't
know), let me save you the time of checking to see if the game you're playing
is right for your age. If you're playing it and having fun, it's not right for
Wow, these requirements are too easy. That one is already
Requirement #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.
See...the trick here is not to get caught up on and worry
about how daunting the homework and chore list is because you have an out. The
whole "do your best" to follow the schedule can be loosely translated
as an excuse to do a crappy job. So, my advice, make the list as complex as you
can. Start at one end of the house and go to the other, writing down every
possible thing you can do. From moving the refrigerator out of the way and
getting all that crap out from underneath it that somehow manages to get there,
to mowing your yard and the neighbors yard. Devote an equal amount of time to
your school work and list advanced subjects that are way beyond your
comprehension. Devote about 30 minutes but certainly not more than an hour to
video games. Give the list to your parents, and if they look at it quizzically,
tell them you've always been interested in trigonometry, quantum physics and
Roman literature. Once they approve the schedule, you're golden. Play as much
video games as you want and if your parents give you any grief, tell them
"Well, I'm doing my best." If you can produce an alligator tear, it
will seal the deal. Trust me.
Sweet. We are well on our way to earning that Belt Loop.
Requirement #3 - Learn to play a new video game that is
approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher.
This is almost a ludicrous requirement. Read it close. Learn
to play...a new video game...approved by...no where does it say this is the only
game you'll ever get to play. We're not trying to figure out how to get your
hands on a copy of God of War here, we're trying to earn you that badge
(badges, we don't need no stinkin' badges - sorry I couldn't resist). Bite the
bullet. Ask one of the mentioned people to pick a game and then learn to play
it. The easier and more juvenile the game is, the quicker you’ll be done with
it. My advice is to ask a teacher, roughly 35-40 years old for a
recommendation. Stay away from the old geezers. Teachers in the 35-40 year old
group are very likely to be gamers themselves and might just recommend
something cool for you to play like Modern Warfare 2. And girls are gamers now
too, so don't dismiss Mrs. Peabody from your pool of potential candidates.
There you have it...one shiny brand spanking new Belt Loop
in Video Games.
Man…I really wanted to write a guide for the Academic
Pin…there are some really easy ones to poke fun at like playing for one hour
(Gosh one whole hour) or playing a video game that helps practice your math
(You’re being attacked by 5 zombies, and you shoot three of them each with a 3
round burst from an M-16 with a 30 round magazine, how many bullets do you have
In all seriousness, the sarcasm and cynicism of this blog is
not directed at the Boy Scouts (because I really do think it’s a great
organization), rather, those who point fingers and place blame at anything and
everything except themselves for the conduct and behavior of their kids. I am
married and a father of three. My youngest is a 15 year old girl. We’re all
gamers and we play everything from Rock Band to World of War Craft. I’d welcome
any of these so called experts to come into my home and tell me how I’ve raised
my kids is wrong.
Parents…if you want to know what you’re kids are doing…sit
down next to them and watch them, without judging them and what they’re
playing. The breakdown begins when the wall goes up and the wall goes up when
you start judging them.
Life’s short. Play hard (and into the wee hours of the night).