This has been puttering around the nodes for a few days, but is too awesome to ignore: The Boy Scouts of America will now reward their tiny, non-atheist, heterosexual charges for exploring digital worlds. The Video Games Belt Loop and Academic Pin (while most likely devised to improve declining enrollment and retention) moves the Scouts further from pre-industrial self-sufficiency training toward post-industrial consumer training. Here's what it takes to earn the belt loop:

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.
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.
3. Learn to play a new video game that is approved by your parent, guardian, or teacher.

ACHIEVEMENT!
  • ACHIEVEMENT!
Two of the three requirements ask Scouts to limit their gaming, while the third just asks their parents to buy a new game for them. Passive achievement is the new heart of America.

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We're not against the Scouts' efforts toward modernization—we adored the Nuclear Power merit badge—but they could have had Scouts come up with new ideas for games, discuss different kinds of games, go for high scores, learn about old tech, or engage in any number of other creative or instructive activities on top of just buying and then not playing games.

The Stranger Testing Department is Rob Lightner and Paul Hughes.