President Obama is the latest in a rather long line of politicians to start calling out video games
as being something that is bad for kids and should be taken away from them, as encouragement to go outside and play:
The second step that we can all agree on is to invest more in preventive care so that we can avoid illness and disease in the first place. That starts with each of us taking more responsibility for our health and the health of our children. It means quitting smoking, going in for that mammogram or colon cancer screening. It means going for a run or hitting the gym, and raising our children to step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside.
Of course, there's been very little evidence that playing video games alone somehow leads kids to be less active or to play less outside, but it may also be worth putting this into a historical context. Tom sends in a look back at some old quotes from Scientific American
, where the last one on the page, written in July of 1859 -- yes 150 years ago -- sounds quite similar to Obama's comments on video games, but is in reference to that pernicious child-obesity-causing monstrosity we call "chess":
"A pernicious excitement to learn and play chess has spread all over the country, and numerous clubs for practicing this game have been formed in cities and villages. Why should we regret this? It may be asked. We answer, chess is a mere amusement of a very inferior character, which robs the mind of valuable time that might be devoted to nobler acquirements, while it affords no benefit whatever to the body. Chess has acquired a high reputation as being a means to discipline the mind, but persons engaged in sedentary occupations should never practice this cheerless game; they require out-door exercises--not this sort of mental gladiatorship."
You heard them! No more chess playing, you kids!