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Kid Health Experts Attack Video Game Summer Camp

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the friendly-environment-to-frag-noobs dept.

Canada 123

Jack Action writes "The University of British Columbia runs a summer camp where kids get to play computer games for three hours a day. The camp organizers say it is 'a good social opportunity for some kids who didn't fit into other programs.' However, health professionals declare they are 'troubled' by the camp. A professor in UBC's department of medicine says kids should be outside and engaged in 'unstructured play,' while the CEO of an NGO that monitors kids' health chimes in that they already spend too much time in front of screens and not exercising. Do the health experts have a point, or are they just criticizing something they don't understand, or perhaps is not to their taste?"

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Unstructured Play? (2, Funny)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050630)

Just Cause 2 is pretty unstructured.

Re:Unstructured Play? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050854)

Yeah but you can't have just a 3-hour session on it, I keep finding myself sucked into it for 5+ hours at a time and it only feels like 15 minutes...

Re:Unstructured Play? (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053878)

If you can combine computer gaming with physical activities you may end up with an interesting camp. Both at the same time could be really good.

Use laser tag [wikipedia.org] vests, GPS and a lot of other stuff and you may get an exercise worth it.

One time... (2, Funny)

InvisibleSoul (882722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050634)

...at video game camp...

Re:One time... (3, Funny)

ig88b (1401217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050690)

...I stuck a wiimote...

Re:One time... (3, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051996)

...into my TV because I wasn't wearing the protective...

Re:One time... (1, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050708)

at video game camp... ....I took my Rez Vibrator and I shoved it in my pussy." - Alyson Hannigan. "What you say???"

Re:One time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050746)

bzbzbzbzbzbzbzbbzbzbzbbzbz....

Last I checked... (5, Insightful)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050640)

the day is still 24 hours. Are three hours of video games more detrimental to their bodies than 6 to 8 hours of school classes?

Re:Last I checked... (5, Insightful)

spyder913 (448266) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050694)

...or reading? People are too quick to condemn video games.

Re:Last I checked... (4, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050698)

We have a winner!

When I was in school I woke up at 5:30-6:00am, and spent until 3:00 sitting in one seat or another before coming home and "officially" having 3 hours* of homework per class according to pretty much every document the school had.

Take 9 hours for sleeping and you've got 15 left during the day, 12 hours of something other than playing videogames for 4 months straight is a damn sight less unhealthy for kids than sitting at a desk for about 12 hours a day for ~10 months straight.

*Yes, 18 hours of homework starting at 3pm. Nobody I asked could ever find the problem with this until I pointed out that would last until after my second class the next day.

Re:Last I checked... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050798)

>>>3 hours* of homework per clas

What??? Maybe they meant per week. That wouldn't be too bad - about 1/2 hour per class per day.

I used to get all my homework done before 5 pm (while watching the afternoon cartoons). Sometimes I had a book report that I had to bang-out on my typewriter, which kept me up til bedtime. Anything more than that is just nuts. After all adults typically only work 8 to 5, or 8 to 6. It makes sense for kids to follow the same schedule.

Re:Last I checked... (3, Insightful)

GoatCheez (1226876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050984)

I went to a private school and we also had 3 hours of homework per class per day. The scary part is that sometimes we really were assigned 3 hours of homework per class per day. We also were required to write a term paper for each non-english class per semester. For english classes we generally had 2-4 papers to do per semester depending on grade and level. Term papers and preparation for them (reading source material) did not factor into the 3 hours. I REALLY hated high school. Let these kids play some games for 3 hours.

Re:Last I checked... (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051580)

I'm in graduate school and I barely have that much. Four courses, Three hours per course per day. That's 60 hours of work a week. Plus a job. No, no way do high school students truly have three hours of work per class per day. That would be 90+ hours per week.

Re:Last I checked... (1)

Starayo (989319) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052362)

Ahahah, I remember when I thought high school teachers knew basic math as well. Those were the days.

I went to a public school and got anywhere from 1-3 hours homework per class per day. Which is anywhere from 5-15 hours worth. Never did any of it myself, of course, because there were no real consequences for me besides the odd half lunch detention and I aced all tests anyway. Fuck them if they think I'll do their inane work. If I'm doing inane work I'd better be getting paid for it.

Good ol' public schools.

Re:Last I checked... (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051208)

Nope, modern highschools in america consider 3 hours of homework per class per day to be reasonable. I averaged a couple papers, about 100-150 algebra problems, and a stack of worksheets.

READING was assigned on a weekly basis though, which usually meant you could get away with 100-200 pages per week depending on how long your book's chapters were.

Re:Last I checked... (2, Interesting)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051532)

Now this doesn't make a lick of sense to me.

I admit to being a slacker. I don't know whether or not I'm a "genius" of any kind, and in fact I doubt it, but I passed all of high school and a 4 year college (in 6 years, admittedly) doing virtually none of the homework assigned. I have a decent grasp on pretty much everything I set my mind to in spite of that, even just barely passing. Am I ready to jump into any number of careers that require some of the more arcane things they taught? No. But I'd probably put myself in the 60-80% range of understanding for a lot of it. I'm fairly sure that at one point in high school, I didn't study for a math class, was the first to finish the test, and also got 100.

If you as a school system have to work someone 1000% as hard as I worked--or more--to get them that remaining 20-40%, you are completely out of your fucking minds.

And I don't want to hear any teachers telling me how hard it is to teach kids. I'm not bashing the teachers. It's possible nobody in the world today has figured out a classroom environment / mass teaching paradigm that actually encourages 90-100% retention without inordinate amounts of work. More likely, whether anyone's figured it out or not, virtually nobody is trying to implement it, and instead they're all working using the methods passed down from previous years, decades, centuries.

I'll tell you what, though; I was always up to listen to things and up for getting hands-on with anything. Homework was something that for whatever reason totally freaked me out, so I didn't do it, but if you gave me something interesting to listen to, or something interesting to do, I was all over it. I'm sure there are plenty of others. "Study this because studies say studying will teach you things" is no replacement for teaching.

End rant before I go in circles again.

Re:Last I checked... (1)

socz (1057222) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051544)

I think it depends on the school your attending and how they go about 'homework.' The public school I was supposed to go to gave out packets of homework for their mixed bag of math classes. While I on the other hand had chapters of math to go through.

The public school kids (my buddies) also finished school 'early' and had 1/2 days for most of their last year, while I had more hours of school 7 AM to 3:30 PM.

If I got out at 11:30~12 everyday I would have time for 3 hours of homework, but not with my school's schedule.

Re:Last I checked... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052218)

My memory of high school (public school, early 1990's, midwestern U.S.) was that I had a mix of advanced (some were even college prep) and regular classes. The few advanced classes sucked on homework. (Typically heaps of busywork in addition to new material.) But getting a few D's in some of the advanced classes (like English Lit) put me in the regular classes for those subjects. And despite being bummed out it somehow it turned out beneficial and allowed me to prioritize. Regular classes had much less homework. Not only did it raise my GPA with easy A's, but if not catching a nap during times where there wasn't Q&A or reading something - they provided time for me to complete the homework for my more difficult classes.

At least I lucked out and had some cool teachers in those classes though. As long as I anwered questions correctly, had the homework done, or could carry a good argument during some class debate, they didn't care what I was doing with the extra time if it wasn't disrputive. Some teachers could be a little discouraged by this and tried to find some other busywork, but I usually did something to win favor like tutoring or translating the book material to something my classmates could understand better. So I usually had 2 classes per semester that were essentially extra study halls, provided there was little participation on those days.

Frankly I think in some ways either the advanced classes for some subjects didn't have the right approach, or the regular classes for the same subjects were way too easy. Since I didn't see too much middle ground in those cases.

Re:Last I checked... (1)

Labcoat Samurai (1517479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051680)

Nope, modern highschools in america

And by this, you presumably mean your high school specifically.

Re:Last I checked... (2, Informative)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051922)

All three i personally attended in 3 different states on opposite coasts and several dozen more spread throughout the country that people I've conversed with have attended.

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&safe=off&q=%223+hours+of+homework%22&fp=d9bfea1616ddd46f [google.com]

Re:Last I checked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32053430)

&safe=off?

Re:Last I checked... (1)

Homburg (213427) | more than 4 years ago | (#32054106)

None of the results I can see there talk about three hours of homework per class; they talk about three hours of homework per night. That's still far too much, but it's not quite as insane as the case you're talking about (which, TBH, I think you're making up).

Re:Last I checked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32054830)

I don't know what school you people went to, but in my public American high school, I was assigned maybe 5-10 minutes of homework in maybe one or two classes a day. I would bang it out the next day while sitting in that class waiting for the class to start.

From everyone I've ever talked to, American public schools are a complete joke that are more on par with babysitting teenagers than anything else.

Re:Last I checked... (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051300)

Except that to get into a decent college kids are also expected to do a couple hours of extra-curricular activities a day as well. Throw in a sport, band/orchestra, newspaper/yearbook, theater/forensics, or a couple misc. clubs and a lot of kids probably don't get home until 6-7pm. Add in 3 hours of homework a night and they barely have time for dinner, let alone a video game. It's a pretty brutal schedule, to be honest.

Then again, there are a lot of kids who don't bother with extracurricular activities OR homework. Those are usually the ones still playing video games in their parent's basement for many years afterwards.

Have to admit, I played a lot more video games after college than I ever did as a student. Probably not coincidentally, I can now afford to financially and time-wise...

Re:Last I checked... (2, Informative)

hldn (1085833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051572)

i'm one of those that didn't bother with extracurricular activities or homework and i don't live in my parents' basement, you insensitive clod.

Re:Last I checked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052682)

expected to do a couple hours of extra-curricular activities a day as well. Throw in a sport, band/orchestra, newspaper/yearbook, theater/forensics, or a couple misc. clubs

or just be a minority.

i'm just sayin.

Re:Last I checked... (1)

Labcoat Samurai (1517479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051656)

"officially" having 3 hours* of homework per class according to pretty much every document the school had.

So, translation: "Teachers are free to give you up to 3 hours of homework for any given day, but are generally assumed not to do this consistently on a daily basis, because that would be absurd." Yes? Or was homework not actually for a grade at your school?

Re:Last I checked... (2, Informative)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051892)

Close, it was for a grade and they actually did tend to give absurd quantities of work.

Re:Last I checked... (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052706)

honestly, we don't get better as a society by doing it the easy way.

suck it up and knuckle down, and someday you too can lose your job to outsourcing.

*shoots self*

Re:Last I checked... (2, Interesting)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051958)

I think that guideline is from college where you have 2 classes/week. Teachers teach what they were taught.

Re:Last I checked... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32055358)

A Part Time college student has 2 Classes per week. Full Time Students have 4-6 classes per week. The Crazy Insane ones have 8. (or there are a bunch of small low credit classes, or labs for an other class)

Re:Last I checked... (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 4 years ago | (#32055662)

I meant 2 meetings/week/class. Actually I think the rule about homework was based on classroom hours, which is clearer, but still doesn't apply to HS.

Re:Last I checked... (4, Insightful)

nbert (785663) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050820)

Prof. Mckay seems to be more concerned about "obesity levels" according to the article. However, I highly doubt that a summer camp is the right place to fix this issue and 3 hours of computer games a day won't make anyone fatter than he/she already is. It is hard for me to see any point in this story.

Re:Last I checked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32052998)

No but the troubling trend is the gaming time is displacing the physical play time, creating children that get no exercise. Now this is even creeping into summer camps. Add in the current fast food love and you get epic proportions of childhood obesity. Man some people love to wear their blinders, how could doctors criticize games, they don't understand them and they are fun! Childhood obesity is a very disturbing trend and yes gaming is a part of that problem, not directly but because it displaces physical play time.

Re:Last I checked... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32054118)

Sounds like the want the kiddies to be good cock mongering ball playing assholes.

Re:Last I checked... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32055556)

The computer games could be something like "Dance Dance Revolution" or other activity based computer games. I get the feeling that the issue isn't whether they are active or not, but more whether or not they are being creative and creating their own games with their own rules, rather than just having the rules enforces automatically by the computer system.

Like when you played something like "SWAT teams" in the playground, and had an argument who shot who first.

video games = violence (2, Funny)

fattmatt (1042156) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050644)

These fat kids are just going to end up violent killers ... that is the more troubling issue!!

Re:video games = violence (2, Funny)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051006)

At least we'll be able to outrun them when they come for us!

Re:video games = violence (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052492)

What if they play Splinter Cell, though? You won't even see the fat ninjas coming!

Don't send them outside! (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050646)

The sunlight makes it too hard to see the screen!

Lets Do the Math (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050666)

24 hours in a day.

As a kid, we'll say you SHOULD be getting 9 hours of sleep a night. Thats what the health experts say, anyways, especially for teens.

So we're down to 15 hours already. Okay, lets say an hour for each of your 3 meals. Normally breakfast is a bit quicker and dinner is a bit longer, but it should all even out. So 12 hours. Lets say you want 3 hours of some kind of lessons. 9 hours. 3 hours for video games? 6 hours left.

Thats 6 hours left to exercise outside, is that not an incredibly high amount? That's almost as much as a day job. These kids should BE so lucky.

Re:Lets Do the Math (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050976)

these are teen and pre-teen boys, you left out 3 hours a day for masturbation

Re:Lets Do the Math (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051068)

these are teen and pre-teen boys, you left out 3 hours a day for masturbation

I thought that counted as exercise....

Re:Lets Do the Math (2, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052236)

these are teen and pre-teen boys, you left out 3 hours a day for masturbation

Three hours?!?!? When I was a teen, it only took me 5 minutes, thus totalling about 30 minutes per day.

Re:Lets Do the Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32055316)

5 funny, no mod points

Re:Lets Do the Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051158)

Okay, lets say an hour for each of your 3 meals. Normally breakfast is a bit quicker and dinner is a bit longer, but it should all even out.

An hour for each meal? What kind of house did you grow up in? Sounds like one of those 'sit at the dining room table and chat about the day' families.

Re:Lets Do the Math (1)

socz (1057222) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051566)

You're messing it up with 1 hour/lunch. You need to crank that sucker down to 15-25 mins max! That way, they don't have the chance to sit around and keep stuffing themselves. Once you hit 30 mins your glass shouldn't even have any water left!

If it was a "reading" camp (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050670)

they'd have no problem with it. In fact they'd probably praise it for being innovative. Double standard. - I think a gaming camp is a cool idea, especially if the games are oriented towards RPGs (reading) or simulations (strategies). Plus it's only 3 hours a day.
    They get exercise the other ~10 hours in the day.

Re:If it was a "reading" camp (4, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051024)

I would suggest those "troubled health professionals" find a summer camp where they can go fuck themselves for 3 hours a day.

Re:If it was a "reading" camp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051088)

I would suggest those "troubled health professionals" find a summer camp where they can go fuck themselves for 3 hours a day.

Agree

Re:If it was a "reading" camp (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051354)

And we have a winner. I think this thread is now closed.

Re:If it was a "reading" camp (0)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051346)

If it was a "reading" camp they'd have no problem with it. In fact they'd probably praise it for being innovative. Double standard.

It's because you learn when you read: vocabulary, grammar, writing style, and knowledge. Unless all the games are educational (such as historical or market simulations), you're not going to learn much playing a game other than fine tuning your finger reflexes and how much the pretzel is worth in Ms PacMan. (Hint: 700 points)

Re:If it was a "reading" camp (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053518)

You must play a very small selection of video games. Many video games (though most adults will refuse to admit it) teach planning, teamwork, resource management, hand-eye coordination, critical thinking in the midst of mayhem and long-term strategizing among others. Just because you played nothing but pacman and space invaders, doesn't mean everyone does.

Re:If it was a "reading" camp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051842)

Um, known fact: video games are for idiots and people with mental problems. Try again.

Re:If it was a "reading" camp (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052756)

Or chess camp.

It's ridiculous. More brain-dead do-gooders fucking up the world with their dogmas and nonsense :/

Activities (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050680)

Are all summer camp activities involving running, jumping, climbing trees (etc.)? Sure, three hours is a chunk of time. But it's not an entire day and it seems that the camp involves more than video games - which might actually be a subtle way to get kids running, jumping, climbing trees. As the article itself notes:

Brownrigg said a recent report by her group showed that on average, young people spend six hours a day in front of screens...

The camp might be a step towards working against that national average they're so concerned about.

umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050682)

FTFA: "Time is alloted each day to playing outside."

I don't see the problem here... "OMG VIDEO GAMES!!!!! THINK OF THE CHILDRENSSS!!!!"

Durr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050712)

Uhm, if they weren't at camp, they'd be sitting in their basements for 5 hours a day playing video games. I don't see how going to a camp makes them worse off.

THREE WHOLE HOURS! (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050716)

Actually, three hours of video games is probably substantially less than a lot of them would normally be playing.

Re:THREE WHOLE HOURS! (3, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051052)

The fact they're going to a "video game camp" is strong evidence they wouldn't have gone to a "normal" summer camp to start with. So rather than spend those hours alone in their houses playing video games, at least here they have more opportunity to interact with others... which may lead to doing more things besides playing video games at home alone.

Please tell me... (1)

TDyl (862130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050726)

Please tell me Jack Thompson isn't still alive and now trying to "Bacon" Canada; God help me if I ever meet that sorry excuse for a disbarred lawyer.

Why always sports? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050758)

Why does everybody try to force kids to do sports _all_the_time?

a good social opportunity for some kids who didn't fit into other programs.

That's IMHO a very good argument. There are many kids who simply don't like sports (I was one of them) and don't like to go to a 'sports camp'. Shouldn't they have other options?

Re:Why always sports? (1)

Taedirk (870181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051084)

If they don't like sports, it obviously means they're gay. Or they're going to shoot everyone up. Or both. Haven't you been watching the news?!

3 Hours A Day (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050774)

So they play games for three hours a day.

Assuming they leave about 10 hours for sleep/dorm time and 3 hours for eating, what happens the other 8 hours of the day?

Re:3 Hours A Day (4, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050844)

Well this being Canada, for the remaining 8hrs, we go out as a young child and wrangle our first beaver. Once we've successfully captured ibe, without our ankles being gnawed off we go for the moose. They're very tame, believe it or not. We haven't had a single goring fatality up here in 30 years. Once you've successfully got your pet beaver, and your war moose. We go hunting the national pest, it's called the Canadian Goose or They who shit on everything. That pretty much fills up the summer, kids are then taught to bunker down for the winter which lasts 8mo between construction, and black fly month.

This isn't forgetting in the winter we have hockey, and hockey to keep us active and ensure we get snow blindness.

Re:3 Hours A Day (1)

Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051420)

I was just about to mod this "funny" when I noticed the "informative" mod. I'm still laughing so hard at that that I'm all teared up.

Really, are these health professionals truly upset or is some journalist making a story? 3 hours of games is a huge reduction for most kids, let alone ones that would go to this camp. And they've got at least 8 hours for other activities...beavers beware!

Re:3 Hours A Day (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051838)

I'm not really sure who modeed that informative but I'm still laughing over that. But we do get some strange types that travel here, and actually think some of that.

Probably a bit of both, BC being BC it's pretty close to having the same social policies as California.

My anecdotal experience (4, Interesting)

assemblyronin (1719578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050776)

The camp organizers say it is 'a good social opportunity for some kids who didn't fit into other programs.'

Back in High School we had a really cool teacher that let us setup a LAN with 5 computers in his classroom; We mostly played Quake and Warcraft II. It even expanded to the point that we had one guy running a D&D campaign, others would bring their MTG cards, and one guy was messing around with building robots. Point being, a good bulk of the guys that showed up were guys that weren't getting any meaningful peer interaction otherwise, because the other clubs and activities weren't up their alley . Gaming would happen, yes, but since there were only 5 computers a lot of socialization happened as well.

Re:My anecdotal experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051940)

Lets see...your LAN project from back in the day taught you all some ingenuity and problem solving skills. You weren't just plopped down in front of a 'puter and handed a joy stick. MAYBE if at this camp there was some kind of project to go with playing the games, it might make sense.

However, I have an argument against gaming at camp. If you've ever practiced Zazen or been on any seriously rugged survival camp, you'd know about the psychological impact of "total immersion" experiences. That is, if you are totally removed from normal life and have no access to the mentally distracting things that go with it--including incessant texting, IM, internet, and games--your awareness and way of thinking change a little bit. It can really show/remind you a whole different way of experiencing life.

So, at camp, I would argue it best for kids to be forced not to game in order to achieve that heightened sense of perspective described about. Even if they gamed for just 5 minutes a day, it would disrupt the effect I am talking about. It isn't about just appreciating nature for 6 or 9 hours a day...it's about being immersed in it as an experience that is rare and eye opening.

Not really anecdotal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32053570)

Studies have more or less proven that children that play video games together build stronger trust relationships. It's a mentally healthy thing to have. You have to trust someone if you're playing a co-op shooter for example. You have to equally trust them in a 1 vs 1 shooter as well. Video games are a trust building exercise and in this case it's being used to bring together kids who like the OP pointed out, won't find other meaningful peer interaction. I'm too lazy to look the research up but the specific study is in a TED talk I remember listening to a few days back where a woman argued that the world needed more video gamers. She had a minorly flawed but persuasive argument for it.

Anon coward

Would they complain .. (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32050810)

If it was 3 hours a day of Wii Fit?

Re:Would they complain .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32053562)

Honestly no they wouldn't if it stayed Wii fit. It's about sedimentary activities displacing physical activities.

Re:Would they complain .. (1)

aquila.solo (1231830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32054464)

sedimentary activities

Yeah, I'll show them to deposit geologic material at summer camp.
Dang kids on my lawn...

FirsT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32050942)

Us3net posts.

Couch Potato Camp (0, Flamebait)

strangeattraction (1058568) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051026)

I guess they would be against my Couch Potato Camp also. A shame since the kids love it and Coke and Frito Lay provide all the snacks for free. This keeps my cost down and allows me to accept children with special needs such as diabetes. I suppose they'll want the gov't to step in and regulate this like so many other intrusive measures. McD's also supplies us with Happy Meals which goes over especially well for Violent Movie Mondays where the kids veg for hours in happy bless. What is the world coming too?

On the other hand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051030)

They could ban the camp and these kids can spend 10 hours of their day playing videogames at home, not interacting with other people.

Not really unstructured (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051080)

If they really wanted the kids to have unstructured play, they wouldn't be forcing them outside (which is a form of structure). If it was truly unstructured, the kids would sit in front of the video game for five or six hours - break to eat -- then get right back on that controller.

They should mind their own business (1)

em0te (807074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051150)

Parents are more than capable of handling this decision on their own. These days people trying to eek out a living and doing something beyond the norm to set themselves apart don't need bad publicity because some think-tank believes that these types of things are too much for parents to think about. This doesn't need to controlled or mandated.

Unstructured play (1)

mveloso (325617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051160)

These kids should be in a field smoking weed, not inside playing those damn computer games!

I HATE video games- but give me a break- 3 hours! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051186)

This is non-sense. If they are upset it should be over the fact the games the kids are almost certainly playing are non non-free... hehe. Of course that wouldn't make any sense. Now three hours a day during the summer when kids aren't in school is nothing to get upset over. I bet they probably have plenty of mandatory "play time" where they are required to exert physical energy and run around. Which is in my opinion totally fscked up. Do you really think that is going to encourage kids who HATE physical activity to like it? Not a chance. It just makes them despise you- the authorities and those with physical talent even more. They'll do everything to NOT be like those people. WTF do you think so many geeks are so overweight? They do the exact opposite of what those who they despised when they were younger made them do.

So what's the alternative? (1)

Superdarion (1286310) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051260)

Spend the whole summer in your house, being utterly ignored by your parents 'cause let's face it, they don't want you around 24/7, locked up in your room either playing single player games, internet games with strangers or watching tv?

This camp sounds like a great idea to do what you like with your friends or, even better, socializing with new people who share your same interests. So why are these "experts" against it? Health, they say? The 3-hour dose seems much healthier than the 8hr the kids will get at home. Plus, once the 3hr is over, they'll probably just go play outside with their new friends and have a hell of a time.

Too bad I don't live in Canada (plus a 25yo would exactly fit in, I guess).

Hmm, I had assumed something different... (1)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051304)

I had assumed that at these "camps" children might engage in a couple 2 hour sessions a day, but for the most part they would be encouraged to interact in other ways.

I mean, when you go to a camp for any topic, you spend most of your time on things vaguely or not at all associated with that topic.

They could have kids play a sports game on the computer then play it for real and compare, or kids that like role playing might re-enact some of it outdoors (Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!)

If they actually allow kids to sit around inside and play for 12 hours a day every day then I have a problem with it too!

What about space camp? (1)

Bragador (1036480) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053132)

Bah, I went to space camp a couple of times and we didn't do sports. It was all about learning and experimenting. Quite fun, but no sports. Is that such a bad thing?

However, if I had kids, I wouldn't send them to a gaming camp. I'd want them to be challenged and learn some cool skills about science, nature, arts, or whatever they like. That video game camp could be good if they try to create a game or a mod on their own though.

Not a video game camp (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051364)

It is not a video game camp if they spend the vast majority of their time doing things not related to video games.
3 hours is only a small percentage of the waking day, so IMHO this camp sounds like a normal balanced summer camp.

But seriously, 3 hours of video gaming and they are getting criticized with health concerns?
How many hours a day do these kids have to be engaged in physical activity?
If you take a 24 hour day and remove 3 hours for video games, 3 hours for eating, and 9 for sleeping then that leaves you with 9 left.
I do not know about the average kid, but 9 hours sounds like a lot of exercise and a lot more then I would expect an average person to be able to even do.

Some camps are more intense (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#32054068)

3 hours is only a small percentage of the waking day, so IMHO this camp sounds like a normal balanced summer camp.

Some camps are more intense. I once came across a daily schedule for a girls gymnastics camp, and it read like something from Army basic training. Workouts from 0700 to 1700. A good riding camp will have kids in the saddle five hours a day. Camps for competitive sports are so intense they're scary.

Yea. its bad exercise to sit in front of a screen (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32051844)

yet, we put maybe more than half of the people in front of screens to work 8 hours a day sitting on a desk, yet, somehow it is alright to do so.

Interesting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32051854)

This one time, at video game camp, I put on my robe and my wizard hat...

No big deal (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052062)

Playing video games sounds a hell of a lot more fun than making those little plastic key chain rope things we made when I was a kid. And three hours a day isn't much at all if they're spending the rest of the day, you know, hiking and sailing and such.

I have this suspicion these "kid health experts" don't actually know that much about children.

Worse than math camp? (1)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052080)

When I was in 7th grade or something, I went to a "math camp" at a small state college in another town. It was basically a bunch of nerds hanging around. During the day, we took a few classes that touched on topics like architecture and design. Then in the evening, we went and played sports and ran around or had little shows or watched a movie together, whatever. The point being that it wasn't completely inactive, and I'm willing to bet that a camp based around getting people together to be social probably won't entirely restrict itself to sedentary activity.

Why is it the video games are the bad activity? (1)

bigdogpete (1796228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052280)

The article would be better discussed if it went into detail. But for the most part it has been shown time and again that there is a vast list of skills being developed when kids play video games. I actually encourage my kids to play video games, but not in excess. There are always pros and cons in everything. I could say the same things about hiking, boating, biking, swimming, and running (just to name a few). But hey lets forget that you can break your leg hiking, you can drown boating or swimming, you can crash while biking, and you can screw up all sorts of things just running. But hey you have to weigh the pros and cons when it comes to your kids and in the end if the parents agreed to this camp then I support them.

Why not board games? (2, Insightful)

Dracil (732975) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052296)

If the point is social opportunity, then these provide a good social opportunity that does not require sitting in front of a screen. It arguably also requires a bit more thinking than the average video game. I'm of course, talking about games like Puerto Rico, Small World, Tigris & Euphrates, or Battlestar Galactica. Not games like Monopoly.

Camp is lame; health professionals are boring (1)

Protoslo (752870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052340)

I find it incredibly unlikely that kids would go to this camp at the expense of some sort of athletic opportunity. That said, what recommends a camp where kids play games on mainstream game systems? I call that singularly uninspired. How does the "camp" aspect even improve the experience? I guess it lets you play non-networked multiplayer console games without friends...and you get to interview video game developers on a field trip ("it would be the best job in the world if only I made money, too..."). The rest of the time, though, there is a serious dearth of novel experience.

Before high school, I had attended summer day camps with the theme of model rocketry and (once) taxidermy (We dissected and stuffed roadkill squirrels. I recall now that I had convinced my fifth-grade classmate--the son of an ENT surgeon!--to come along, but unfortunately taxidermy camp may not be for everyone; he was unable to continue). I also went to week-long Huntsville Space Camp (which was surprisingly banal--the best part was probably playing "Lander" and the shuttle landing simulator in the space museum) and Boy Scout summer camp (hellish, unlike other recreational camping--I've never had so many bug bites in my life, to say nothing of the primitive sanitation facilities). The only one of those that involved any exercise was BSA camp, and (imho) we don't need more of that.

My last camp was actually after the ninth grade (I think); it was one-week Policy Debate (my "sport" then) camp at Indiana University. This cleverly combined critical intellectual activity (policy research & debate) with exercise in the great outdoors (attendees had to walk from the dorm to the library, after all). Oddly enough that camp influenced my life considerably for ten years at least: I read my roommate's copy of Snow Crash (Neal Stephenson) and Virtual Light (William Gibson). I know now that he (a guy named Mark, I think...) was a fan of cyber-punk. Unfortunately, I have never had any sort of memory for proper nouns or numbers, so it was not until my first year of college that I finally found a copy of Snow Crash in a B&N, remembered the title and author, and read the rest of Stephenson's books, followed by most of the "great" works of science fiction (and quite a few that were not so great). Around the same time I switched majors from Electrical Engineering to...Computer Science. I still love debating--and reading about!--policy, too. Most of my posts get a lot more research than this one, I promise. I could certainly argue that that experience was a summer camp success. At the very least it was more convivial than BSA camp. The IU program doesn't appear to be extant, but I'm sure sending your children to Stanford's [snfi.org] summer program would be more effective anyway.

If people want to bitch about the summer camps that children are sent to, why not bitch about the lack of critical thinking at camps. Even at NASA space camp, you won't find much critical thinking (or novelty, or fun...damn you, NASA!). Maybe "Space Academy" or "Advanced Space Academy" is more fun (when I was there I'm pretty sure they just had "Aviation Challenge," for which I was too young), but waiting until kids are into high school (or college: awkward) to offer interesting, creative and intellectual activity seems to risk being too late altogether.

I (tearfully) deleted around 400 words about my modest (but awesome) proposal for spelunking summer camp (or corporate team building exercise). I just couldn't imagine the average (or the uncommon) /. reader plowing through it. Suffice it so say that it combined exercise (belly-crawl through muddy half-submerged caves), fun (belly-crawl through muddy half-submerged caves), and education (studying geology and applying it to explain cave formations found on aforementioned belly-crawls) with motivation (abandoning campers/clients who fail to successfully apply geology to cave formations). The only aspect I hadn't quite worked out yet was liability, but maybe there are some good caves in Somalia...

The out of touch generation (2, Insightful)

Hammer79 (1163799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052344)

Sounds like the complaints are coming from people who missed the computer revolution as children and are failing to see the big picture. I went to a computer camp in the 1989 as a 10 year old, and I had a blast. There were outdoor activities mixed in as well, but I still remember how amazed I was with even the most primitive of coding. Today, I do most of my coding on PIC's, but that early exposure to computers is what sparked my interest in this career path, and led me to pursue education in that field.

My Landlord? (1)

RidePlanet (1801684) | more than 4 years ago | (#32052670)

It really wouldn't surprise me if one of the profs pushing against the creation of this camp is my landlord. She also won't let me have wifi (a fact that I was not informed of until AFTER I signed the lease, so I can still get away with it) since she's afraid her kids will get cancer and die (but she uses her cell phone all the time).

What are computer games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32053072)

Ultimately the way in which computer games are played is decided by computer programmers and other people who do not have the motivation of young people's psychological development and are instead driven by commercial concerns whereby the enjoyment from the game is nothing more than a way to sell more products in the future.

Individual computer games, unlike games like chess, go or even the various card games (those played with the standard 52 card deck), have no basis in a person's formal culture (e.g. West Europeans ought to learn about their musical traditions, East Asians ought to learn about Chinese (as in, before 1000 AD) history and so on). This is what separates computer games from music, literature and fine arts when deciding what a permissible activity is for young people.

What kind of sorry camp is this? (4, Insightful)

billius (1188143) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053434)

are they just criticizing something they don't understand

Okay, time to end the fake snobbery. Video games have been around for a long, long time. My dad (who will be 60 soon) owned an Atari 2600 before I or any of my siblings were born (ie he got it of his own free will). The original NES came out in the US almost 25 years ago, giving us games like the Final Fantasy series, which people spent hours and hours playing. At least *some* of the people in charge *know* what video games are, how important they are to kids and what role they play in society. However, the point of summer camp (at least as I remember it) was to give you something different. Most kids don't have the opportunity to go hiking in the woods, shoot rifles, ride horses, sail/row boats, etc at home. The point is to have a *real* adventure, the kind of experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. Spending three hours a day playing video games is a complete waste of time at summer camp as you can do the exact same thing at home. I'm sure I bitched about the rules when I was a kid (who doesn't), but I'm thankful that I was forced to "unplug" and try new things. Thanks to summer camp, I got to learn how to use woodworking tools, how to sail catamaran, how to shoot a muzzle loader and how to *properly* use a compass among other things. I'm sure at the time I would have thought it was cool if I got to play video games as well, but in retrospect I'm really glad I was "forced" to go outside and play.

Playing Wii is not the same as learning to code at computer camp or doing cool problems at math camp. Video games at summer camp are the same as video games at home. This kind of clueless convolution rings about as hollow as the "cool adults" who talk about how "tech savvy" modern kids are because they are always texting.

They've taken the high ground (1)

TouchAndGo (1799300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32053504)

Am I the only one who read the article title and at first thought that health experts had literally attacked a video game camp? Chubby sun blinded children cut down like wheat, PS3's and Xboxes thrown in a bonfire, etc.

Go out and paint some graffiti, you lazy kids. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32055846)

I was thinking of this subject just this morning. Kids sitting inside and playing video games is considered bad, they need to go outside. But once they are outside, there isn't really anything for them. Sure, some people play football or similar, but they're the ones that would do so anyway. In the end, the best society has to offer seems to be spray cans for painting graffiti.

Why is it that we (society) try to encourage these kids to go out and paint graffiti, instead of playing games?

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