A Merit Badge for Video Games?

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The Boy Scouts of America have added a new merit pin — for video gaming.

Understandably, the blogosphere has lit up with criticism of the new award. Those critical of the idea complain that today’s boys already spend too little time outside, too much time gaming. They argue that today’s boys need little incentive to take up a pastime that already consumes many of their waking hours. (Kids today spend an average of 1.25 hours a day video gaming.) They cite alarming studies linking increased video game play with decreased grades in school.

And yet…

What ever happened to “all things in moderation?” Like them or not, video games are a part of our modern culture, and a boy today without knowledge of video games is like a zebra without stripes: he’ll simply never fit in with the group. The Boy Scouts of America aren’t encouraging non-stop video gaming — heck, even my video game designer brother doesn’t encourage that. Instead, they’ve instituted a program that encourages boys to take a critical look at video games, that encourages them to play with their families and to monitor and control their spending.

What’s so bad about that?

What do you think of the new merit award? I’d love to hear your opinion!

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