We have talked extensively about technology in this series, even going as far as to predict a good self-lifting floor jack. However, when we discuss the advances in technology, there is an ugly side to the benefits that new technology provides. As this technology makes the lives of everyday, ordinary citizens a little bit more convenient — with convenience being the key — this convenience comes with a more sedentary approach to everyday life. That is, people tend to sit around more and use their connected electronic devices for anything and everything that is done in everyday life. This problem started to affect the youth of the world in the mid-to-late 1990’s, with the mass proliferation of video games and their all-encompassing, attention-grabbing method of sucking children in. Sure, gaming was around before this time, but during this era, the world of gaming was expanded with new technology, and the consumer base grew greatly from the days of the original Nintendo, partly because the games that were released on newer platforms, such as the original Playstation, were more entrancing to the general demographic. This great new way to entertain children was a fantastic new tool for the ever-expanding minds of each coming generation, but the sedentary approach has led to an increase in childhood obesity like never before seen in the history of humanity. However, there are some good tips to incorporating a bit of physical activity into your child’s routine that are easy to incorporate and will shed some of those extra pounds that your child may have picked up due to sitting around and playing these games for hours upon end.
First and foremost, the obvious solution to this problem is to incorporate your own exercise routine into the lives of your children. Now, while this may seem obvious, some parents with extra-busy schedules will not always be able to enforce this, and some children will look at this activity as a punishment. They will then do anything and everything possible to get around doing it, and with parents who have hectic schedules, the likelihood of this going on for the long-term in this situation is quite slim. So, where does the parent turn? As ironic as it may seem, the answer may be hidden in the very game consoles that created the problem to begin with.
Now, it is important to understand that it took approximately ten years for the obesity epidemic to become clear. Around 2010, game programmers and console manufacturers decided to focus a portion of a department to combatting this problem that was a direct result of their games. That is, game designers began to make use of new technology to create interactive games that allow players to be in-motion while playing the game. One great example of this way “Dance, Dance Revolution,” which required quite a bit of physical stamina in order to advance far in the game. Not only were these new games incredibly fun, but they engaged the player in a way never achieved by any game before, even so much that adults began to utilize these types of games as a fun way to get themselves in shape as well!
After this came motion-sensing gaming, such as what is possible with the current generation of add-ons, such as the Xbox Kinect, which engages gamer even more by providing certain actions that are performed via motion sensors, allowing for even more physical activity to be performed while having fun playing a game.
In the very near future, manufacturers like Sony will be releasing the next generation of interactive gaming — virtual reality. Now, VR technology is something that has been long imaged in the science fiction genre of film and literature, but has never been completely implemented into our society. However, the technology exists now, with Sony recently announcing that its new VR headset will be geared towards the masses of people who play games of all types, instead of those who just play high-end computer games. This means that more children who play these games will have an interactive, augmented-reality experience that will eliminate the sedentary approach to video games of old times. Hopefully, this will go quite a long way towards eliminating the childhood obesity problem faced by the world today. However, this device is still in the testing phases, so the jury is still as to whether or not an impact may be achieved.