Joystiq reported today on a series of ads running in the UK which draw a correlation between gaming as a child and an early, untimely death.
The campaign, entitled Change4Life, is primarily targeting kids who “watch TV or play computer games” and is trying to advocate a healthier, more active lifestyle for children. As is not unusual, some gaming advocates have gotten up in arms about what they call “heart-in-mouth scapegoating” of games.
I feel as though I’ve harped on this before, but we at Charge Shot!!! are definitely advocates of moderation in all things. Change4Life does seem to be playing on parents’ fears to get them to pay attention, but that doesn’t mean its core message – make sure you eat right and do some physical activity – doesn’t deserve advocates. It’s just that they single out games and TV as the causes when the cause is actually sitting around on your ass all day – kids are just as inactive if they’re sitting and reading books for two hours, but my bet is that book-reading would not be considered a fattening waste of time by British doctors.
As usual, the key is finding a healthy balance, and, once again, to get parents involved. Not in the undereducated alarmist way, either, but by getting them actively involved in their childrens’ lives, and going out of their way to set aside family time for walks and outdoor activities. Locking the Wii up in the broom closet isn’t going to make all your problems go away.
In closing, I sure seem to give a lot of parenting advice, for someone with no kids.