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Webelo-yal First Person Shooters

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Young Boy Scouts of America can now earn awards for sitting indoors and playing video games.

That’s right, the Cub Scouts–the junior 8 to 11 ages subset of the Boy Scouts of America–are adding a new “ability badge” to their arsenal of earnable merits for the Tiger, Cub, and Webelos troops. But here’s the catch: The awards aren’t for how many bonus lives you’ve earned, or stars you’ve collected–you have to do stuff like bone up on the ESRB’s rating system and be able to describe why it’s important.

I know what some of you are thinking. Just a trend-driven ploy to bolster recruitment, right? Maybe, but look at it this way: At least these kids get a look at the video games ratings system early on, and under the supervision of trained adults.

Good point: here’s the list of requirements, and they are a blend of wholesome values like media awareness, critical thinking and deference to parents. But what I was actually “thinking” when I read this was about Peter Singer‘s recent work on the relationship between video games and military recruitment, and Cynthia Enloe‘s work on the militarization of our civil society institutions through things as simple (and wholesome) as Campbell’s Soup.

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