Two of the most common complaints about American kids is that they’re too fat and they don’t read enough.
Well, I think we’ve come up with a simple solution that can solve both problems:
We just need to get more technological devices into their hands.
A pair of entrepreurs were tasked with getting a team of kids more fired-up about baseball practice. So what did they do? They went to work building a virtual world for their players.
What they came up with, FunGoPlay, combines an online sports game world with physical sporting equipment that registers physical play and rewards it with special access codes. The “online sports theme park” will launch this Spring.
And how do we target kids who are more interested in staring a screen than curling up with a good book?
We buy them Kindles.
Ever since the holidays, publishers have noticed that some unusual titles have spiked in e-book sales. The “Chronicles of Narnia” series. “Hush, Hush.” The “Dork Diaries” series.
At HarperCollins, for example, e-books made up 25 percent of all young-adult sales in January, up from about 6 percent a year before — a boom in sales that quickly got the attention of publishers there.
“Adult fiction is hot, hot, hot, in e-books,” said Susan Katz, the president and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books. “And now it seems that teen fiction is getting to be hot, hot, hot.”
Comedian Sam Kinison had a famous, envelope-pushing joke in which he advised people in starvation-riddled areas to “move to where the food is.”
It might seem a little depressing that we need to use videogames and digital screens to coax our kids into the behaviors that were so core to our own childhood experiences. But the trend towards a more technologically connected society is not going to reverse itself anytime soon. These hand-held screens are where our kids live now. If we want to promote behaviors like reading and sports, maybe we need to move to where the kids are.