Get On My Lawn More


In the UK, many kids are playing outside to the tune of only 4 hours per week. I think we'd see about that today in the US - or less. K and I almost never see kids biking around or playing ball in the street where ever we go. Playgrounds are deserted.

In the past 8 years, 2.5 million American kids under 13 have stopped engaging in organized sports.

I am hearing the same story from person after person about their child being stuck on the tablet for hours and hours and developing a "dis-ordered" life - weight gain & social issues.

I have come to hypothesize that if psychologists did a serious study on tablet games that are played by kids and analyzed them for addictive stimulus/responses (variable-response rewards, etc), it would reveal the games as finely tuned addiction machines. The technical term for use of a application or website is "engagement", and most apps and websites optimize for engagement - the creators want to make things that are used. But if you're engaging in designing for addiction to boost engagement, that is a real problem.

Listen, I played a lot of computer games over the years - too many - and I can tell you that modern games differ in mechanics (variable rewards are much more common now) and availability (always with you, not just the family PC). And children under 12 don't need to be glued to games.

I think one of the things we need to look at very seriously is the addictive behaviors of tablet games, particularly as applied to children, and then stringently regulating the production and marketing of games for the < 12 set.