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Canada Medicine Games

Kid Health Experts Attack Video Game Summer Camp 123

Jack Action writes "The University of British Columbia runs a summer camp where kids get to play computer games for three hours a day. The camp organizers say it is 'a good social opportunity for some kids who didn't fit into other programs.' However, health professionals declare they are 'troubled' by the camp. A professor in UBC's department of medicine says kids should be outside and engaged in 'unstructured play,' while the CEO of an NGO that monitors kids' health chimes in that they already spend too much time in front of screens and not exercising. Do the health experts have a point, or are they just criticizing something they don't understand, or perhaps is not to their taste?"
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Kid Health Experts Attack Video Game Summer Camp

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  • Last I checked... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SetupWeasel ( 54062 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:21PM (#32050640) Homepage

    the day is still 24 hours. Are three hours of video games more detrimental to their bodies than 6 to 8 hours of school classes?

  • Lets Do the Math (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:23PM (#32050666) Journal

    24 hours in a day.

    As a kid, we'll say you SHOULD be getting 9 hours of sleep a night. Thats what the health experts say, anyways, especially for teens.

    So we're down to 15 hours already. Okay, lets say an hour for each of your 3 meals. Normally breakfast is a bit quicker and dinner is a bit longer, but it should all even out. So 12 hours. Lets say you want 3 hours of some kind of lessons. 9 hours. 3 hours for video games? 6 hours left.

    Thats 6 hours left to exercise outside, is that not an incredibly high amount? That's almost as much as a day job. These kids should BE so lucky.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:23PM (#32050670) Journal

    they'd have no problem with it. In fact they'd probably praise it for being innovative. Double standard. - I think a gaming camp is a cool idea, especially if the games are oriented towards RPGs (reading) or simulations (strategies). Plus it's only 3 hours a day.
        They get exercise the other ~10 hours in the day.

  • by spyder913 ( 448266 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:25PM (#32050694)

    ...or reading? People are too quick to condemn video games.

  • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:26PM (#32050698)

    We have a winner!

    When I was in school I woke up at 5:30-6:00am, and spent until 3:00 sitting in one seat or another before coming home and "officially" having 3 hours* of homework per class according to pretty much every document the school had.

    Take 9 hours for sleeping and you've got 15 left during the day, 12 hours of something other than playing videogames for 4 months straight is a damn sight less unhealthy for kids than sitting at a desk for about 12 hours a day for ~10 months straight.

    *Yes, 18 hours of homework starting at 3pm. Nobody I asked could ever find the problem with this until I pointed out that would last until after my second class the next day.

  • Why always sports? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:30PM (#32050758)

    Why does everybody try to force kids to do sports _all_the_time?

    a good social opportunity for some kids who didn't fit into other programs.

    That's IMHO a very good argument. There are many kids who simply don't like sports (I was one of them) and don't like to go to a 'sports camp'. Shouldn't they have other options?

  • by nbert ( 785663 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:36PM (#32050820) Homepage Journal
    Prof. Mckay seems to be more concerned about "obesity levels" according to the article. However, I highly doubt that a summer camp is the right place to fix this issue and 3 hours of computer games a day won't make anyone fatter than he/she already is. It is hard for me to see any point in this story.
  • by GoatCheez ( 1226876 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @06:54PM (#32050984)
    I went to a private school and we also had 3 hours of homework per class per day. The scary part is that sometimes we really were assigned 3 hours of homework per class per day. We also were required to write a term paper for each non-english class per semester. For english classes we generally had 2-4 papers to do per semester depending on grade and level. Term papers and preparation for them (reading source material) did not factor into the 3 hours. I REALLY hated high school. Let these kids play some games for 3 hours.
  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @07:00PM (#32051052)

    The fact they're going to a "video game camp" is strong evidence they wouldn't have gone to a "normal" summer camp to start with. So rather than spend those hours alone in their houses playing video games, at least here they have more opportunity to interact with others... which may lead to doing more things besides playing video games at home alone.

  • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @08:47PM (#32052236)

    these are teen and pre-teen boys, you left out 3 hours a day for masturbation

    Three hours?!?!? When I was a teen, it only took me 5 minutes, thus totalling about 30 minutes per day.

  • by Dracil ( 732975 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @08:57PM (#32052296)

    If the point is social opportunity, then these provide a good social opportunity that does not require sitting in front of a screen. It arguably also requires a bit more thinking than the average video game. I'm of course, talking about games like Puerto Rico, Small World, Tigris & Euphrates, or Battlestar Galactica. Not games like Monopoly.

  • by Hammer79 ( 1163799 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @09:04PM (#32052344)
    Sounds like the complaints are coming from people who missed the computer revolution as children and are failing to see the big picture. I went to a computer camp in the 1989 as a 10 year old, and I had a blast. There were outdoor activities mixed in as well, but I still remember how amazed I was with even the most primitive of coding. Today, I do most of my coding on PIC's, but that early exposure to computers is what sparked my interest in this career path, and led me to pursue education in that field.
  • by billius ( 1188143 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @11:51PM (#32053434)

    are they just criticizing something they don't understand

    Okay, time to end the fake snobbery. Video games have been around for a long, long time. My dad (who will be 60 soon) owned an Atari 2600 before I or any of my siblings were born (ie he got it of his own free will). The original NES came out in the US almost 25 years ago, giving us games like the Final Fantasy series, which people spent hours and hours playing. At least *some* of the people in charge *know* what video games are, how important they are to kids and what role they play in society. However, the point of summer camp (at least as I remember it) was to give you something different. Most kids don't have the opportunity to go hiking in the woods, shoot rifles, ride horses, sail/row boats, etc at home. The point is to have a *real* adventure, the kind of experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. Spending three hours a day playing video games is a complete waste of time at summer camp as you can do the exact same thing at home. I'm sure I bitched about the rules when I was a kid (who doesn't), but I'm thankful that I was forced to "unplug" and try new things. Thanks to summer camp, I got to learn how to use woodworking tools, how to sail catamaran, how to shoot a muzzle loader and how to *properly* use a compass among other things. I'm sure at the time I would have thought it was cool if I got to play video games as well, but in retrospect I'm really glad I was "forced" to go outside and play.

    Playing Wii is not the same as learning to code at computer camp or doing cool problems at math camp. Video games at summer camp are the same as video games at home. This kind of clueless convolution rings about as hollow as the "cool adults" who talk about how "tech savvy" modern kids are because they are always texting.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger