Monday, March 30, 2015

U.K. Worries About Game Effects While Detroit Embraces Them

The Nantwich Education Partnership in the U.K. has a warning to parents: if your kids play video games like Call of Duty, you may hear from child services. The Huffington Post reports on the crackdown of 15 primary schools and one secondary school to get kids back on "track" with focusing on their studies. Video games are not part of the curriculum. The letter issued to parents referenced that playing such games (Grand Theft Auto included) could lead to "increased sexual behavior."

Yep. They're worried about kids and sex with Call of Duty. I didn't know that was possible in CoD. Have the games matured in their story-line since I last played?

"If your child is allowed to have inappropriate access to any game or associated product that is designated 18-plus we are advised to contact the police and children's social care as it is neglectful."

The letter also warns parents about letting their children access Facebook and Whatsapp, because they may fall pray to "sexual grooming." I didn't know FB was a hookup site. Where the hell have I been?

On the other end of the spectrum, doctor's at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI are prescribing video games to kids. Well, they are prescribing one game, titled 5-2-1-0 Kids. When parents and children come in for a follow-up exam or for a check-up, doctors may prescribe the game as a means of teaching kids in an alternate way of being healthy. Five fruits and vegetables a day, two hours of screen time, one hour of play, and zero sugary drinks.

Their goal is prevention of a sedentary life-style. A third of U.S. adults are considered obese according to the BMI scale, and childhood rates are climbing fast. They know it's a challenge to get kids to eat healthy and stay active, and they feel a video game is a great way to reach them. Why not give them something they already do on a daily basis? Video games, that is.

The game is a phone app available on iPhone and Android. It's free and there are no in-game purchases. The focus is on 4-9 year old children, but could be applicable to earlier ages. Avatars guide the user through a series of mini-games that help children learn about the importance of a healthy life. Each mini-game is based off the user's skill level, and will increase or decrease depending upon how well they do in the challenges. Some parents are lauding it for being an original take on how to get kids to stay healthy. Some don't understand, but that's to be expected.

It's good to see how games can help improve lives, and how silly some countries can be. Seriously. Where's the sex on CoD? Unless it's a hard-on for guns, I'm at a loss.

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