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Apps For Healthy Kids — Where PC Meets PCs 186

Posted by timothy
from the what's-the-rda-on-sanctimony? dept.
theodp writes "Put the Grand Theft Auto, Halo, and Madden away, kids! Over at Apps for Healthy Kids, First Lady Michelle Obama has a whole new slate of games for you to play with! Voting on entries in the White House-backed game development competition has begun, and you'll find exciting titles like Balanced Meal (6 votes), Blubber Blaster (9 votes), Calorie Quest (10 votes), and Count Peas (7 votes) — and that's just for starters."
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Apps For Healthy Kids — Where PC Meets PCs

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  • by Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @05:34AM (#32941586)
    Would be to not let "Kids" near a PC.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 18, 2010 @05:44AM (#32941614)

      While you're at it, be sure to slap books out of their hands.

      Anyhow, I'm just curious. Has anyone run the numbers on increasing kid-lard versus decreasing safe roaming distance around the home?

      (Disclaimers: I read books, and grew up in an city-sized 60s suburb that was entirely safe to let kids roam.)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765)

        Of course, when it comes to killing children's intrest I think the whitehouse is using much more effective techniques than your suggested violence. I mean these apps sound about as tasty as brussels' sprouts with brown rice.

        You can keep children away from books by forcing them to read moby dick just as easily. More effective than the death penalty they use in Iran, in my opinion.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          > I mean these apps sound about as tasty as brussels' sprouts with brown rice.

          Like anything else, it's all in the execution.

          You can either screw it up royally as most Americans do to green vegetables or you can do it right.

          Do it right and you won't get nearly as much resistance.

          You won't need these stupid apps either.

          Really, they just need to bring back Mulligan's Stew.

      • by aussie_a (778472)

        (Disclaimers: I read books, and grew up in an city-sized 60s suburb that was entirely safe to let kids roam.)

        Parents of the time thought it was safer than parents do these days. It may be that it was safe. It may still be safe to do now. Or it may be it was simply perceived as being safe.

        • by BasilBrush (643681) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @07:29AM (#32941858)

          As far as road safety goes, where I am in the UK, it's far safer than it was in the 1960s. Quite the opposite of parents perception:
          http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=1208 [statistics.gov.uk]

          It seems to me that one of the drivers of increased safety has been deliberate raising of the public's awareness. Increased awareness creates a perception of things getting worse, whilst actually causing things to get better.

          I would imagine research into child abduction, abuse and murder would also produce results contrary to expectation.

          I have no kids, but if I did, I'd give them as much freedom to roam as I had when I was a child. I certainly wouldn't be driving them everywhere.

          • by TheLink (130905)
            Uh, you could get lower traffic accident statistics BECAUSE more parents don't let their kids out to roam.

            Not saying that your point is not true, but to actually prove increased safety you'd also need to have the number of pedestrians+cars over the years. And for children safety you'd need the number of children roaming the streets per year.
            • Uh, you could get lower traffic accident statistics BECAUSE more parents don't let their kids out to roam.

              Indeed, which is a result of increased public awareness...

              to actually prove increased safety you'd also need to have the number of pedestrians+cars over the years.

              Yes. Though one thing we do know is that the car part of that equation has increased a lot.

              • by TheLink (130905)
                Yeah... Then again if they're all stuck in traffic jams, if they hit a kid, the kid may not even notice :).
              • by kdemetter (965669)

                So on one side , kids need to play less video games ,and play outside more often .
                On the other side , it's not safe for them to go outside ?

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          There is safety in numbers.

          If everyone is paranoid and staying inside, then there will be no safety in numbers.

          It's a nasty Catch-22 if everyone is too afraid to let their kids roam 70s style.

      • by dogsbreath (730413) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @07:31AM (#32941864)

        Hmmm, I grew up in the 50s and we roamed the neighborhood in relative safety, but there were also lots of parents around. Two income families were not the norm. My wife or I would take our kids (now teens) to the playground and we would be the only parents in the area.

        There have been a number of significant changes in the way people spend their time and how they interact in the last 50 years. Entertainment content has changed as well. It is simplistic (but fun!!) to blame one thing or another for obesity and violence.

        So here's my 2c: Up to grade 5 or 6, turn off the TV and limit computer time. Go outside and play with your kids. Talk WITH them for a significant part of every day, even if you have something more important to do.

        Especially limit exposure to shows/games that use a lot of sarcasm or display/infer violence. Your kid isn't going to be a serial killer because they play violent games but they do model what they see and if you want them to learn how to interact successfully with others then make sure they see / hear / live in way that is what you consider healthy.

        • by nu1x (992092) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @08:48AM (#32942106)

          > Especially limit exposure to shows/games that use a lot of sarcasm or display/infer violence. Your kid isn't going to be a serial killer because they play violent games but they do model what they see and if you want them to learn how to interact successfully with others then make sure they see / hear / live in way that is what you consider healthy.

          Not really, regarding modeling. Many (most ?) kids are capable of differentiating between modeling the internal vs. the external world, as in, they can take all the sarcasm, blood and gore, and still understand the "abstraction" part behind it. I spent a lot of time around certain kids growing up, and while they were certainly above the norm intellectually, by the age of about 12, every abstract thing you throw at them they can take just dandy.

          What is much more dangerous, is not having the valve for gore and brutality - you may think it strange, but it is necessary. I've seen kids ruined by over-protective parents. In other words, I've noticed that true demons among kids are those who have not noticed pain and suffering in the world, and esp. those who have not felt pain and personal loss - not saying that you should traumatize your kids, far from it - what I am getting at is that kids need to go outside, for example, take a camping trip - and not experience comfort for once - but the mud, the hunger and hardship - these are the things that make kids appreciate it in others and become more helpful.

          Also, boys (maybe I am coming off as sexist here, whatever) tend to naturally seek out sources of pain in real life while playing. But it is healthy - broad spectrum of experience defines us as persons.

          Not sheltering them or making them "model" some behaviour on rote level, but rather, leading them to understand root causes and relationships of this world, is a better approach.

          World-proof your kids.

        • by TheLink (130905)
          > Talk WITH them for a significant part of every day, even if you have something more important to do.

          Nah, if you really have something more important to do, do that first. The kids will survive.

          But most things aren't that important. Even though they might be more fun or less tiring than talking with the kids :).
        • by Chowderbags (847952) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @12:50PM (#32943358)

          Talk WITH them for a significant part of every day, even if you have something more important to do.

          They're your kids. Raising them is the most important thing you have to do.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I'd like add a bit to your last paragraph. I suggest people proactively expose children to people who are problem solving in a polite and respectful way. They need to be exposed to people actually trying to find win-win situations, as opposed to win-lose situation. They definitely need to avoid the lose-lose situations. I think that most people don't really know how to get the win-win situation or how to really co-operate in a collaborative way. It's not just a matter or attitude either.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by dogsbreath (730413)

            Spot on, Eugene. Absolutely right.

            You don't have to make up artificial situations: just make sure you carry the right attitude and philosophy in all your dealings. Kids watch what you do and learn from it. They don't have to be force fed healthy behaviour; they need to live in a healthy atmosphere.

            Cheers

      • does anyone have numbers about safe roaming distance ? my guess is it's ever-increasing, as is parental hysteria over danger.

        from : http://pediatrics.about.com/od/childabuse/a/05_abuse_stats.htm [about.com]

        "Although the incidence of child abuse and neglect has been decreasing in recent years, more than 1.25 million, or 1 in every 58 children in the United States, were abused in 2006."

    • by BlkRb0t (1610449) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @05:57AM (#32941636)
      That's not possible in the current scenario, PC's are everywhere and kids are going to see them and be curious about them. It's better that you teach them how to use it properly than making it a restriction. If you don't let them near one then they are going to seek it out from outside which maybe worse than what you intended to do.
    • Just feed them less (Score:4, Interesting)

      by nten (709128) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @05:59AM (#32941640)

      The whole "get out and play" thing is backwards according to this study:
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100707212127.htm [sciencedaily.com]

      Its results would indicate that simply feeding children less will make them less fat regardless of activity level. The lower weight makes them more active. This is consistent with how I finally got the weight of and kept it off (calorie counting while sitting in front of a monitor all day), and its really quite intuitive.

      May I be the first to say.... Thermodynamics *works* bitches!

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        Eating less worked for me, too.

        The whole 'gym' mentality is broken. The problem is that people eating less doesn't make anybody rich. Gyms and diet products, OTOH...

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by somersault (912633)

          Yes, eat less* to lose weight.

          Being lighter makes you feel good on its own as basic things like getting out of a chair and climbing stairs become easier - but getting some form of regular exercise (even just going for a 30 minute walk every couple of days) will make you feel even better.

          I don't think there's anything wrong with gyms as long as you're not using them as an excuse to eat crap. I actually started going to the gym because I wanted to put on weight after losing 20lbs through trying various method

          • I don't think there's anything wrong with gyms

            I think there's the terrible boredom and monotony, but I OH! Shiny!

            • If what you are doing really is monotonous then you have plenty of time to think because you can just leave your body on autopilot.

              I found going for walks rather tedious the first couple of weeks because I was so used to being online, watching TV or playing games all the time, having content fed to me. Having to think for myself was "boring" to me, but then I started finding it interesting and useful, a time to reflect on past and current events, planning for future ones etc.

              As they say "'Bored' people are

              • If what you are doing really is monotonous then you have plenty of time to think because you can just leave your body on autopilot.

                I found going for walks rather tedious the first couple of weeks

                Going for a walk != walking on a treadmill;

        • by aussie_a (778472)

          The gym works perfectly. If you're prepared to continue that level of commitment for the rest of your life. Most people aren't. So for most people moderating your diet is more effective. Dieting however is not a good idea. Any change you make must be forever. If you can't handle doing it (or doing without) for the rest of your life, don't bother starting.

        • I, on the other hand, used to eat like a navvy - but I burnt it all off riding a bike and playing Rugby [1].

          [1] Not at the same time, but it sounds like a fun idea.

      • by AigariusDebian (721386) <aigariusNO@SPAMdebian.org> on Sunday July 18, 2010 @06:28AM (#32941720) Homepage

        There is a certain problem with 'get out and play' if your outside is a ghetto ridden with gangs, drug dealers and gun violence. Better to stay inside then.

        • How the hell is this modded troll? Seems like a legitimate matter of practicality to me. But (to the trigger-happy mod-) go ahead and live in your cozy comfortable world and assume that anyone can just "go out and play". Numbnut.
        • Better to live in fear, than to get out and face life? I'm not so sure. Isn't that how prey animals live in the wild? Look at the cute little bunny - a shadow passes over him, and he huddles, frozen in fear, until the big cat/dog/bird snatches him up, and eats him.

          I'd say that if life in the ghetto is as bad as people say, then parents need to teach their kids how to cope with that life, instead of hiding in their basements.

      • by FourthAge (1377519) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @06:55AM (#32941786) Journal

        Backwards? But it isn't just about the exercise. It's also about social skills. Keep them "safely" indoors all day and, well, you know what happens... you'll have met kids like this in forums and online games. They are not pleasant to be with; they are rude, selfish people, and it's because they are poorly socialised. Some of them are technically adults - they are the saddest examples. We can get used to ignoring the flames, the trolls and the gamer rage on the Internet, but imagine how such people cope in the real world. "Not very well" is the answer.

      • by aussie_a (778472)

        Its results would indicate that simply feeding children less will make them less fat regardless of activity level.

        That is so insightful. I thought people gained weight by eating less food. That explains why my diet hasn't been working.

        • by fluffy99 (870997) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @07:34AM (#32941872)

          "Diets" don't work. In particular crash diets that just send your body into starvation/storage mode leaving with zero energy. Increase the quality of your food (no pre-prepared food and stop eating out) and pay attention to the calorie totals. Eating less more often and earlier in the day helps too. The magic ingredient is to start getting some exercise to increase your metabolism and burn more calories. If you're well over 200lbs, you can burn up to 200 calories fast walking a mile. Don't expect huge changes in weight. A slow steady and _lasting_ improvement takes time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fluffy99 (870997)

        Yes, it can be as simple as weigh change = calories in - calories burned. The complications are that the type of foods and eating habits make a difference and that cutting back on calories alone can't affect significant weight loss. A starvation diet going below 1200 calories a day with zero exercise (which usually backfire, btw) can only drop 1 lb of weigh a week. The best best is diet improvment and getting mild to moderate exercise.

        Besides, there is more to health than simply weigh. Percent fat and c

        • I was losing 2lbs a week every week for 2/3rds of a year doing nothing but sit at my sedentary job and count calories of crap food. You shouldn't lose more than 2lbs a week no matter what you do, its unhealthy. I didn't go below my BMR (around 1460 at the time), I didn't eat better, I still ate plenty of carbs, just less over all. I did use portion control for dinner by purchasing prepackaged meals. And I avoided foods I knew I would have trouble eating sensible portions of. After loosing the weight I

          • by fluffy99 (870997)

            Congratulations on the weight loss. You're another example of why one plan doesn't fit everyone. I'd say I'm another. I eat okay quality food, avoiding most of the junkier stuff loaded with msg & salts and other ingredients that actually increase hunger. I still drink regular sodas and eat fast food on occasion. I run about 40 miles a week and bike about 100 miles.

            I'm atypical as I have the opposite issue of most in that I need to pay attention to calorie intake so I don't lose weight or have low bl

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by plastbox (1577037)

        As Gary Taubes, author of "Good Calories, Bad Calories" says, workout out makes you hungry. Everyone has heard about "Working up an appetite" but for some strange reason forgets it when they talk about exercise. If you just eat based on hunger, working out will do nothing to lower your weight. It will of course help cardiovascular health, and weight lifting helps keep your metabolism and good hormones up, your stress hormones down, helps your mental health and staves off the debilitating weakness of ageing.

        • by fluffy99 (870997)

          As Mr. Taubes says in the book, it's not all about the calories though. A huge part of the problem these days is the massive consumption of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates raise blood sugar, which raises insulin levels, which promotes fat storage, inhibits release of energy from fat tissue and promotes inflammation, associated with next to all our "western diseases" like heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia and so on

          Eating lots of cheap, quickly absorbed carbs in the absence of exercise can indeed be a contributor to all those problems. I'd same the lack of exercise and overall weight are just as responsible for heart disease. It's interesting to note some studies which show that artificial sweeteners and some food additives such as msg also induce the glycemic response of raised insulin levels. In fact some studies show the act of swishing with a sugar solution and not even swallowing induces a response.

          During exerc

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I would say they go hand in hand. Kids just need to be outdoors more, playing with other kids -- rather than spending that time eating. Just cutting the snacks out of their diet would make a huge difference, and an easy way to do that is to just not have them stay indoors all day, with snacks readily available.
      • Its results would indicate that simply feeding children less will make them less fat regardless of activity level.

        Oh how mind-boggingly dumb and primitive. As if we were in the 19th century!

        Eating less will not work at all in practical reality. It only works in a theoretical reality that is completely ignorant of all indirect effects and psychology. It’s why all diets are doomed to fail, and why when you want to lose weight permanently, a diet is even worse than eating normally.

        See, when you eat less, there are three things happening:
        1. You still are hungry as hell! Even more so than with an empty stomach, since

    • by mangu (126918)

      If keeping kids away from computers makes them healthy, then I guess the healthiest kids in the world must live in some African country.

      • the healthiest kids in the world must live in some African country.

        Well the village girls always look best!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      Surely the healthiest option Would be to not let "Kids" near a PC.

      1) Please stop putting the first part of your sentence in the subject line without replicating it in your comment. It's bad form in any medium.

      2) Yes, surely it will be healthy to keep children ignorant of computers so they can grow up disadvantaged unlike an acquaintance's two year old who is plugging and unplugging USB devices (and not just for fun, but when necessary) and is able to start and use programs. What a brilliant idea in education you have stumbled upon!

      • No, it's accepted in this particular medium.
        2) A "Kid" is a young goat & should definitely be kept away from a PC.
        3) My youngest (just turned 10) can build a PC from components, install dual boot Windows/Linux & can touch type (I signed him up to the PICA course when he was 8). I've been in this game for 35 years, but I now get him to do the 'support'.
        4) He comes home from school complaining that in his ICT lessons they are teaching him how to create a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet.
        5) Th
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          No, it's accepted in this particular medium.

          No, it isn't. You only think it is because you have poor netiquette.

          2) A "Kid" is a young goat & should definitely be kept away from a PC.

          "Your honor, we all agree that my client ran this lady down with an Impala. But I believe that I can show that it was actually a quadruped, one Aepyceros melampus." Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. Go back to first grade with these masterful debating tactics.

    • by spike hay (534165)

      Would be to not let "Kids" near a PC.

      It seems like these games would be excellent at doing exactly that.

  • by gravos (912628) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @06:01AM (#32941646) Homepage
    When I was a kid I was writing my own apps. Now get off my lawn!
  • Physical games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Timmmm (636430) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @06:26AM (#32941718)

    What they should reaally do, is physical games. I.e. like Wii Fit, but not really boring. E.g. something like whack-a-mole, but with boxing instead of a hammer!

    • They could introduce martial arts into school PE sessions, and encourage fighting in the schoolyard? That would be awesome.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        They could introduce martial arts into school PE sessions, and encourage fighting in the schoolyard? That would be awesome.

        My school experience suggests that they've already done this. Except, you know, without any martial arts training beyond hard knocks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 6Yankee (597075)
      Bring back Prop Cycle [coinopexpress.com]! That thing got me to exercise!
    • by srothroc (733160)
      What about the educational aspect of it? I played the crap out of the Oregon Trail and enjoyed it when I was a kid. It seems to me that you could do the same thing in a different setting -- say, captaining a ship across the Atlantic in the Age of Sail, or even from Earth to Mars. Put the kid in charge of outfitting his ship with radiation shielding, balancing between fuel/engineering tools/plants/dried food/vitamin supplements, and let him go. I would play the hell out of a game like that, too... and it wou
      • by Timmmm (636430)

        Yeah that is a great idea. E.g. I haven't played it but dwarf fortress could easily teach you about geology.

        It has to be fun, plus informative though. I think many times they don't bother with the fun.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by metrometro (1092237)

      > What they should really do, is physical games.

      Check out HopeLab, which is a hardware & software shop doing pretty much that, as a public benefit.

      They started with clinical trials of software that was anecdotally doing cool things for cancer patients (Chemo Warrior, or something like that, that roleplayed nuking cancer by taking meds. Results: kids took their meds on schedule.)

      From what I've seen of them (I saw their CEO present once) are committed to a) making the games attractive to kids by doing

    • by selven (1556643)

      Normal games but where you have to keep the laptop charged with pedal power.

    • You mean like dance dance revolution?

      It's pretty easy to build a high quality pad for cheap - make it a family project while you're at it.

  • Simpsons... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Robotron23 (832528) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @06:52AM (#32941778) Homepage

    Ah this topic reminds me of when Bart Simpson gets bought, by Marge, a golf game named "Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge" instead of the hip and happening "Bonestorm" which is a Mortal Kombat style beat em' up that all the kids play.

    • The thing is: There is absolutely no point for Bonestorm not being the game that is more healthy, mentally and in terms of fitness.
      It’s all a matter of design.

      Also, what’s wrong with fighting? It’s fun! We’re made for it since the dawn of time. And when we do in in games, there is less need to do it in real life. It’s a win-win.
      The whole concept of “being manly and fighting is bad” smells of the matriarchal sexism that is so fashionable nowadays.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mqduck (232646)

        The whole concept of “being manly and fighting is bad” smells of the matriarchal sexism that is so fashionable nowadays.

        I'd say it's your idea of "being manly" that's sexist. Saying that fighting is bad is neither sexist, nor is it going with the mainstream; our culture fucking loves violence.

  • Keep it up! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pieisgood (841871) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @07:26AM (#32941848) Journal

    No seriously, good job. You're sure to reel in the fatties with titles like "blubber blaster". I'm sure the most popular game is going to be something like "Lardass Limbo" and "Stop eating so much fatty". With titles like that, I'm sure the kids will start playing them by the droves. /sarcasm

    Do they think kids are that stupid?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Do they think kids are that stupid?

      Yes they do.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Grygus (1143095)
        And why shouldn't they? Look what the parents have been putting up with from their politicians for the last ten years.
    • Re:Keep it up! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @08:42AM (#32942082)
      They're not marketing them to the kids: they're marketing them to the parents. The parents will buy "Blubber Blaster" and "encourage" their kids to use it. Of course, it'll probably stay on the shelf but the parents will feel good that they "did" something - kind of like the folks who buy the exercise equipment, use it once or twice, and give up.

      In the meantime, the parents still buy the kids Coke, potato chips, crap from fast food joints (if it has a takeout window, it's crap), and they watch their parents sit in front of the TV all night.

      I saw this guy buy his little pudgeball one of those 20oz Cokes the other day. She was 8 years old and already a fatty.

    • "Do they think kids are that stupid?"

      They are obese little bastards, right?

  • by nu1x (992092) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @08:18AM (#32941988)

    Why oh why would healthy kids require games such as blubber blaster ?

    They should be called apps for big boned, sensitive kids.

    And now what ? You're trying to blast their blubber away ? Seems like recipe for insecurity ... :/

    Better to create a game called "Life Challenged" wherein the object is to increase the worth of society by stopping being an oxygen thief - and there's only one way to do that. Achievement points for creative solutions ! :P

    • No, the game should be called “DOOMSDAY OF TERROR 2010 — Monster-Ass Monster Nuke Attack (With tits!)” for boys, and “My Secret Princesses-Only Pony Stable Garden Online.” for girls.

      And if you think that can’t be made into a game to promote healthy living and self-help, then that’s because you’re not a professional game designer. Believe me, it’s not only doable, but not even hard to do.

  • Or instead... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @08:21AM (#32941996)
    On the one hand, we can continue to encourage kids to play video games and be antisocial, and hope that games with anti-fast-food themes will out-compete games like Halo. On the other hand, we can encourage kids to not play video games, and spend their time outdoors socializing and engaging in physical activity with each other, and hope that such activity will out-compete video games. Gee, which plan is going to be more effective (not that either one will be enormously effective)?

    Of course, if we devote as much effort to telling kids that hang out with each other and play outdoors as we do to telling them that there is something wrong with enjoying the effects of drugs, we will hurt the profits of the corporations that produce video games. Since "the business of the United States is business," any plan that involves hurting corporate profits is a plan that will never actually happen.
    • Modded "Flamebait" eh?

      Well, rest assured that you're right and at least I know it.

      My wife is in medical and it's a HUGE problem among kids because they're not getting enough exercise and the biggest culprits are video games and lack of greenspace for kids to run around - suburban American life is making kids fat. She asks the kids what they do all day: sit in school, go home and do home work and then sit and play video games - all of them have that story.

      And being fat at such a young age leads to horrible h

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Eevee (535658)

        ...and lack of greenspace for kids to run around - suburban American life is...

        Umm, isn't suburbia the place with all those lawns? There's a lot more (and bigger) backyards to run around in when you're out in the suburbs compared to the city. It's not the lack of space, it's the rampant paranoia that the precious darlings can't be left to their own. <getoffmylawn>When I was a kid, we'd disappear after school--we'd all meet at somebody's backyard and play without parental control. I could bike around

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by xaxa (988988)

          I live in an inner city area with lots of blocks of flats, surrounded by grass and with various small parks and playgrounds.

          The young children play outside all the time. Dusk is very late in summer in the UK, I expect I'll still hear a few children playing outside at 9-10pm.

          But, I don't see many teenagers outside. They're obviously not being kept inside. I expect they're either sitting in the corner of a park somewhere, or at someone's house playing computer games and watching TV.

          My parents were early adopt

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            it was boring "playing" there with only my sister for company.

            I know a very enjoyable thing you and your sister can do, just don't let your parents catch you doing it...

      • by couchslug (175151)

        Nice theory, but when I was growing up (late 60s/early'70s) in da 'burbs we did the SAME FUCKING THING except we watched TV. (It sucked, computers and video games are far more mentally stimulating. TV is still shit.)

        The difference? Modern FOOD is mostly good for fattening livestock (hooray for corn byproducts!) and turns youngsters into hambeasts.

        Want to fix (some of) this? PT, every school day, in gym class.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      What we seem to need is a reality overlay video game, that way you can make the kids run around in meatspace in order to play a game. And you make the game boundaries exist in the safest possible locations so they're not running into the ghetto to pick up an epic drop. (I got a baggie of magic powder!)

  • Winning Concept (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crow_t_robot (528562) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @08:57AM (#32942152)
    If you want to make a game to encourage kids to be healthy, make a really shitty game like the orginal E.T. for Atari. Kids will play it for about 2 minutes before turning it off and going outside to make a tree-house.
    In my opinion, making a good game and encouraging physical fitness and healthy eating are mutually-exclusive activities. I can tell when I have bought a really good game by the amount of time I have been stuck in the house glued to the game and all the garbage food I eat while playing it because I'm too busy to get up and prepare a healthy meal.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @10:01AM (#32942442)

    How about having good food in school. Not low cost high fat stuff? also give the kids time to eat so they use the full 30 min lunch standing in line to just have 10 min or less to eat it. NO MORE recess time shared with launch. Make it it's own time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Phroggy (441)

      How about having good food in school. Not low cost high fat stuff? also give the kids time to eat so they use the full 30 min lunch standing in line to just have 10 min or less to eat it. NO MORE recess time shared with launch. Make it it's own time.

      Yes, this. Also, have a class that teaches kids how to cook. A lot of kids move into adult life not knowing how to prepare any food more complicated than macaroni & cheese, so it's no wonder they go to McDonald's when they're tired of their diet of mac&cheese, ramen noodles and ordering pizza.

      30 minutes is enough time to eat if you brought your lunch from home. Otherwise, it's insane.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by xaxa (988988)

        How easy is it to get decent "ready meals" (in American: TV dinners?) in the US? I think Britain is pretty much a world leader in this (there's nowhere near as much variety or quality meals available in the rest of Europe, but it's a while since I was in the US).

        Here ready meals are available from less than £1 to over £5 per portion, with a wide variety of dishes (perhaps 80 options in a small inner-city supermarket, large [mysupermarket.co.uk] supermarkets [mysupermarket.co.uk] have hundreds [mysupermarket.co.uk]). It's not so difficult to avoid anything unhe

        • by Phroggy (441)

          Oh, those are available, sure. Some of them are vaguely healthy-ish, and they're certainly faster and cheaper than what I can make from scratch (for small quantities - cooking from scratch gets cheaper when you scale it up). But if you grew up with parents who didn't know how to cook and couldn't afford to go to nice restaurants, it's quite likely you've never had duck in plum sauce with fried rice before, and have no idea whether it would taste good or not. Exposure to eating good food is even more impo

    • My stepsons go to a really good, progressive private school (with generous tuition assistance), yet there's still an issue with recess time shared with lunch. My eight-year-old stepson eats slowly. We provide him with good, healthy food, which he likes, but he doesn't actually have time to eat it. Naturally, much of the trouble is he'd rather play than eat -- and he should be able to play on recess, of course.

  • Note that under the new health care law, if it stands, the federal government claims the right to order you to buy stupid propaganda games, play them, and write a report on how wonderful they are. IRS is the new DRM!
  • The first thing wrong is their graphic: Why would I want to murder and devour these happy looking anthropomorphic plants? What kind of sick message does that send to the kids? Why not make them play a game based on the movie Alive while we're at it? It promotes team sports, mountain climbing, and cannibalism, seems perfectly in tune with their displayed values.

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