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Big Mother Is Watching

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the hi-mom dept.

533

theodp writes "Newsweek reports that high-schoolers are being denied the joy of ordering unhealthy lunches thanks to their schools' adoption of services like MealpayPlus. New web-based services allow moms to prepay for cafeteria food, specify what their kid can and can't buy, and go online to track his purchases." From the article: "If the child tries to buy a prohibited item, an alert flashes on the cashier's computer. Of course, the system isn't foolproof. According to a KRC Research survey, 73 percent of 8- to 12-year-olds are throwing out part of their lunches at least once a week; 36 percent are trading them." All I ever got was PB&J.

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533 comments

talk about over protective (4, Insightful)

coffeeisclassy (991791) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815464)

If you feel the need to control what your kid eats in high school through a system like this, you've allready failed as a parent.

Re:talk about over protective (5, Insightful)

Kelnor (990866) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815490)

But its a lot easier for parents to just fill out a checklist than to teach their children some lessons about healthy food and the right amount of sport to compensate fast food. Its like TV, why raising your kids by yourself if the little friend from Panasonic can do it also

Re:talk about over protective (4, Funny)

Rob_Warwick (789939) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815701)

Its like TV, why raising your kids by yourself if the little friend from Panasonic can do it also

You're still failing at raising your kids. Every one knows that responsible parents only let their kids watch a TV from Sony!

Comeon, they aren't going to become good little consumers without proper guidance.

Re:talk about over protective (5, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815493)

You have way too much confidence in high school kids. Let's face it, they are still kids.

I don't see what's so wrong with this. As long as the kids live at home, the parents should have a say in what the kids eat, what they wear and so on. If this system helps in achieving that goal, good. Another example is a parent who buys a cell phone to a kid on the condition that a) the kid carries it with him when he's out with his friends and b) answers the parent's call or at least calls back ASAP. Overprotective? I don't think so. Just common sense.

Re:talk about over protective (3, Insightful)

nude-fox (981081) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815507)

but then your child ends up stunted do you really want to control everything your child does in his life and when he/she is 18 just shove him out the door and say have fun in real life he will be tottally unprepared for it so yes it is overpretective i'm sorry but people need to make their own mistakes growing up and then feel the consequences of those mistakes you cant protect your child from the big bad boogeyman that is real life forever

Re:talk about over protective (5, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815553)

A fine sentiment, but health is something that kids should not be allowed to make mistakes with.

Re:talk about over protective (3, Interesting)

LilGuy (150110) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815637)

Kids have to be able to make mistakes with their health. Many kids experiment with drugs in high school, but yet they're not considered 'mature' enough to decide what they want to eat? What happens when they grow older and have never made any decisions for themselves? Those are the kids that live with mom and dad until they're 30, or until their parents throw them out of the house. Raising kids is tough, but if you honestly need to control a high-schooler's diet, you definitely need a little help in the parenting department.

Re:talk about over protective (5, Insightful)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815660)

Experimenting with drugs is not a sign of maturity.

Re:talk about over protective (4, Insightful)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815688)

I disagree

when childeren go trough puberty , they experiment with all kinds of things , it's a part of discovering themselves .
And the more you deny them to experiment , the more they will resist this .

Of course , drugs is more of a problem because it's addicitive.

The system is wrong , because it's not neccesary .

The right way of workings is to let them discover things themselves , experiment with it , and let them draw conclusions of what's good and bad . That's the best way they will learn .

And the more you try to restrict them , the more they will want to try it .

you may get somethingh like this : one child has a parent who doesn't care what the child eats , he buys all the food for those who are not allowed to eat it , and he asks a higher prize for it .

Kids are not stupid , you know .

Re:talk about over protective (5, Insightful)

Flounder (42112) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815669)

Many kids experiment with drugs in high school, but yet they're not considered 'mature' enough to decide what they want to eat?

What kind of backwoods logic is this? They're not mature enough to experiment with drugs either. There's a time and a place for that sort of thing. College.

We're talking about high schoolers here. If they want to buy junk food, then they can get a job and pay for it themselves. This program is about the parents deciding how THEIR money should be spent.

Raising kids is tough, but if you honestly need to control a high-schooler's diet, you definitely need a little help in the parenting department.

Why do I get the feeling you don't have kids.

Re:talk about over protective (1, Insightful)

Gli7ch (954537) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815654)

"A fine sentiment, but health is something that kids should not be allowed to make mistakes with."

Bullshit. Kids should do whatever they want as long as they're not hurting anyone else. How are people going to grow up at all if they're "mothered" every step of the way until they're 18. As a teenager I knew what was good and what was bad for me, but I did things that were "bad" for me because I "enjoyed" them. I ate junk food and played video games, and I still do. But I'm not an obese failure, and if I was, I'd have no one to blame but myself, and if a teenager can't handle that, they're in for a rude shock when they get into the real world.

Also, cafeteria food tastes like crap regardless. Parents, if you want kids to stop eating junk, feed them some real food. A few generations before us kids and parents had no concept of low fat or low carb "diets", but they're weren't obese. You know why? Because they didn't eat fast food at all. If all your kids will eat is crap and they're overweight, feed them some food that didn't come from a foil packet - eventually they'll realise that a pasta with a light tomato sauce or a vegetable curry with a million kinds of vitamins beats the everloving snot out of MacDonalds or microwavable Salsbury steak.

Re:talk about over protective (2, Interesting)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815530)

As long as the kids live at home, the parents should have a say in what the kids eat, what they wear and so on.

In the words of the Great Sage, Chris Rock, "Just because you can do something don't mean it's meant to be done."

The majority of fighting and angst by teenagers is definitely caused by their parents, who go batshit crazy trying to prevent... fighting and angst.

If there's no good reason to monitor what your kid eats (like they are both diabetic and completely devoid of self-control), parents need to chill the fuck out.

Re:talk about over protective (3, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815544)

Oh, so the kids should be allowed to get fat and develop health problems like diabetes, BEFORE the parents should be allowed to say something?


Bollocks. Preventing obesity is a good reason to monitor what your kids eat.

Re:talk about over protective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15815572)

i work in a school. Monday morning There great. calm and ready to learn. Monday afternoon after lunch. Something goes wrong. they can't concentrate. It's something in the food. got to be. They've started a less Salt, less e-numbers diet and it's gotten better. but more diet is something you shoudl control to a degree. not Telling them what to eat. but Giving them a option of good food. This is a Over the top but probabily effective way of doing it.

Re:talk about over protective (2, Insightful)

walnutmon (988223) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815583)

I understand your concern for the kids... I really do. It is very difficult to watch a kid screw up. However, it is the ability to make mistakes, and deal with freedom, with occasional wisdom that creates adults who are independent and powerful. Our society is so over protected and soft that it is getting scary.

Re:talk about over protective (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815612)

I'm not trying to say that parents should be hovering all over their kids. It's perfectly understandable that a teen gets drunk at some point, tries smoking pot, does stupid shit while driving and so on. As you say, making mistakes is part of growing up.


Most teens do not, however, get regularly drunk or stoned nor do they drive in a reckless fashion. Why? Because it won't be tolerated by the parents or the society.

Bad eating habits are like that: systematic, serial stupidity that should not be tolerated.

Re:talk about over protective (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815592)

All people should be allowed to get fat and develop health problems. Free will's a bitch, 'aint it?

Article is talking about a high school. These are kids, but they're 14 years old already -- well past the age everyone understands the difference between hamburgers and steamed broccoli.

That's just stupid (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815628)

All people should be allowed to break windows and throw their trash on the streets. Free will's a bitch, ain't it?

Are you going to pay for that? Or the health bill caused by morbid obesity?

Re:That's just stupid (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815652)

All people should be allowed to break windows and throw their trash on the streets.

Their windows, sure. The streets are for the public; it's not theirs to litter. (They're free to litter on their property all they like). Are you going to pay for that? Or the health bill caused by morbid obesity? Um, why would we have to? Did the US implement some communist national health-care when I wasn't looking?

Re:That's just stupid (2, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815670)

Did the US implement some communist national health-care when I wasn't looking?


Nope. You'll just pay for it in the form of higher insurance costs. You and everybody else, for that matter.

Re:talk about over protective (5, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815603)

Isn't it amusing, the parents shouldn't control what their own children eat but corporations are allowed to use mass marketing in every waking moment of a childs life, as well as addictive junk additives in the 'food', to get the children to eat what most of the directors of the junk food companies would not eat themselves or allow their own children to eat. For those who don't think those junk additives are addictive, consider the efforts parents have to go to stop the children eating the crap, hell, a new successful company exists because of it.

Re:talk about over protective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15815709)

You sir are correct.

Re:talk about over protective (1)

the_doctor_23 (945852) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815624)

Oh, so the kids should be allowed to get fat and develop health problems like diabetes, BEFORE the parents should be allowed to say something?

Bollocks. Preventing obesity is a good reason to monitor what your kids eat.


I think you are missing the point here. If parents talked to their children about it and showed that they cared and trusted them, there would be no need to monitor them.
Overprotecting is aside from (founded or unfounded) fear mostly caused by a lack of mutual trust.
If you have to monitor your children or think you do then there is evidently a lack of trust between you and them.
If you have come to the point that you do not trust your children and, because of that, your children do not trust you any more, I think you have failed as a parent.

Re:talk about over protective (2, Insightful)

October_30th (531777) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815662)

Trust isn't free even between a parent and a child - it should be earned.


Look. I was kid once, too, and I know that good intentions go out of the window when the peer pressure to do stupid shit gets too high. Having a control mechanism like this may actually help the kid to resist the pressure, because the decision is out of his hands.

Re:talk about over protective (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815642)

But that keeps the problem squarely in the negative. Which pretty much guarantees a failure as children go.

We should *control* what the kids are *allowed* to eat so as to *prevent* them from becoming obese (as they would, implied, surely become if allowed any measure of influence on their own lives...)

Re:talk about over protective (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815602)

The majority of fighting and angst by teenagers is definitely caused by their parents, who go batshit crazy trying to prevent... fighting and angst.

No, in general, it's caused by the teenager 'rebelling' against their parents ( ala: establishing their own identities ). It has little to do with parents actually.

You should read more before you make bullshit statements, you could have at least tried to sound a bit more intelligent.

If there's no good reason to monitor what your kid eats (like they are both diabetic and completely devoid of self-control), parents need to chill the fuck out.

There is a good reason, it's to help the kids know what is healthy and what isn't. Given the state of health in this country related to food, I would say this is one of the most important issues a parent could take on today.

Now, let me guess; You are somewhere between 15 and 22. Am I right?

Re:talk about over protective (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815635)

No, in general, it's caused by the teenager 'rebelling' against their parents ( ala: establishing their own identities ).

Establishing your own identity is a bad thing? What?

Re:talk about over protective (1)

aevan (903814) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815664)

More like "regardless which approach the parents take, the child will find something with which to disagree with and rebel against, making them 'different then their parents'".

Re:talk about over protective (2, Insightful)

ItsIllak (95786) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815515)

Can't help thinking you're not a parent. Our consumer culture runs with guns blazing towards kids. They're easy targets. To just about any age, but more universally in the young, choices are made on a "what I want now" basis, rather than "what's good for me".

In England, we're finally cleaning up our school meal system so that kids aren't being fed complete crap. The ideal is to remove all the rubbish from the available choices, but failing that, some way of making sure that our kids are given restricted choice is about the only control we're ever going to get when kids are out of our direct care.

Re:talk about over protective (1)

MisaDaBinksX4evah (889652) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815584)

Dude, if the kids are in high school and they're still not responsible enough to decide what they're going to eat on their own, then the grandparent poster is 100% correct.

Re:talk about over protective (2, Insightful)

rsidd (6328) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815629)

The ideal is to remove all the rubbish from the available choices, but failing that,

I don't get it -- why should that fail? Why should a school feed kids rubbish? In an ideal setup there would be no need for moms to monitor what kids eat, because the school wouldn't be feeding them junk. (I live in India and the schools aren't yet MacDonaldised.)

Re:talk about over protective (2, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815558)

If you feel the need to control what your kid eats in high school through a system like this, you've allready failed as a parent.

Insightful? Okay, let's see some equivalents:

1. If you feel the need to control what your elected President decides, despite the checks and balances in the political system, then your country has already failed as a Democracy.

2. If you cannot legally play your DVDs without surrendering your rights, your laws are already screwed up.

3. If your child can succumb to false advertising, and becomes unhealthy, you must calmly accept it without doing anything about it.

4. If your child cannot surf the 'net without getting exposed to adult content, you must quietly accept the situation, or pay through your nose to do something about it.

Incidentally, at the end of the linked MSNBC article, there was an ad titled "Intimate Dating" featuring a topless lass in between sheets. I wonder why so much fuss is made about proper parental control, when we cannot control so many things we ought to be able to, in a democracy.

Such articles equating parental control to Big Brother is actually a dis-service to those righteous, caring parents who would actually take a stand to achieve something.

Re:talk about over protective (1)

MisaDaBinksX4evah (889652) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815598)

Such articles equating parental control to Big Brother is actually a dis-service to those righteous, caring parents who would actually take a stand to achieve something.

If I were a seventeen-year-old, this is what I would have to say to my "rightous, caring" parent: "Fuck off and let me buy a soda at lunch if I want to."

Re:talk about over protective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15815633)

If I were a seventeen-year-old, this is what I would have to say to my "rightous, caring" parent: "Fuck off and let me buy a soda at lunch if I want to."

And your parents would be right to spank you and keep you off lunch as a punishment for speaking such language.

Re:talk about over protective (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15815656)

"
1. If you feel the need to control what your elected President decides, despite the checks and balances in the political system, then your country has already failed as a Democracy.
"

That's right. In a real democracy, the President should do whatever he was elected for, and do whatever the majority needs.

"
2. If you cannot legally play your DVDs without surrendering your rights, your laws are already screwed up."

That's right. We can't just do nothing to preserve our freedom.

"
3. If your child can succumb to false advertising, and becomes unhealthy, you must calmly accept it without doing anything about it."

No, you're wrong. In fact, i think not-healthy food should be PROHIBITED by law.

"
4. If your child cannot surf the 'net without getting exposed to adult content, you must quietly accept the situation, or pay through your nose to do something about it."

That's right. I'm tired of this "think of the children" faggot pretext to censorship of the web. Childs have NO BUSINESS with internet. If you let your child use internet, that's your problem.

Re:talk about over protective (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815564)

You wouldn't happen to be one of those high school kids who knows everything, would you?

Fact of the matter is, the older you get, the more you realize you don't know squat.

Parents can and do help their kids through high school and beyond, whether the kids realize it or not (they'll realize it later on in life).

Re:talk about over protective (1)

TommyBear2110 (991858) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815578)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being pro-active in your child's diet. This is a great idea.

Re:talk about over protective (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815579)

If you feel the need to control what your kid eats in high school through a system like this, you've allready failed as a parent.

Ah, the same ol' karmawhoring nonsense - you'll get a +5 for certain, and without the effort of thinking.
 
Truth is - parents can't catch a break on Slashdot. Monitor your kids? Violating their rights. Don't monitor your kids? You've failed as a parent. etc... etc...

Re:talk about over protective (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815651)

If you feel the need to control what your kid eats in high school through a system like this, you've allready failed as a parent.

That's a very bold statement, but if you can control what your kid eats at home through your supermarket purchases, why can't you do the same when they are at school?

Peer pressure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15815687)

Hi,

> If you feel the need to control what your kid eats in high school through a system like this, you've allready failed as a parent.

Aw, come on now. You wuss. You don't have kids or you wouldn't make a dumb-ass statement like that!!!

You really think a Kid is going to go for the healthy lunch if all the other kids are eating hormone-e-preservative infested grease bombs?

Sure, the kid will know it's an unhealthy lunch but it tastes kind of good and everyone else does it...

And after a while you've got a big fucking chamber-elephant instead of a kid.

Part of being a parent is taking responsibility for your child. If you let them stuff their faces with whatever because it's on offer, it's no different from letting them do drugs. And YES, some foods are as bad or worse then drugs in the damage they do to the body.

Forced to go to work, you have to choose between a packed lunch or a school meal. Since it's better to have a hot meal around midday, it's good to have the option of giving your kid some choice while still being able to make sure he eats a (reasonably) healthy diet.

But then you didn't think things through trying to get first post, did you?

Someone famous once said (4, Interesting)

vga_init (589198) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815470)

"The more you tighten your grip on the galaxy, the more star systems will slip through your fingers!"

I realize that is not the original text of the quote, but I revised it for clarity. Also, before you mod me offtopic, how many of you won't admit that your parents were like the evil empire? I know mine were.

Re:Someone famous once said (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15815501)

yo mutha's like Microsoft?

Love and care. (5, Insightful)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815471)

Ah, nothing beats the love and care put into making your child's lunch... ...checklist.

klaxons (2, Insightful)

slothman32 (629113) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815472)

When I read "alert" I though of a loud siren.

I wonder how they know what percentage is trading.
I doubt the kids are going to be cooperative enough to get a valid value.

What would be good is "dessert credits."
When you buy enopugh good stuff you can get same bad as well.
Well unless you are in Arizona then "desert credits" might be reasonable.

Let's get it over with (4, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815473)

When your in school, you're already bound by what you can and can't say, write, hear and wear. That said, why not just serve only HEATHY food in the first place!!! Now that would be something worthy of enforcing.

The amount of porkers I see in the malls these days scare me! Their shit diet is going to cost society massive amounts in health care!

Re:Let's get it over with (1)

Kpau (621891) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815508)

Obviously the "right" to be stupid will eventually cause our entire civilization to collapse eventually.... we should never have locked up the tigers....

Re:Let's get it over with (2, Insightful)

hawkeye_82 (845771) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815511)

Their shit diet is going to cost society massive amounts in health care!


Thats OK. Considering they're probably paying a buck-fifty for the shit that they eat, they'll surely have a lot of money left over for their healthcare.

Re:Let's get it over with (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815557)

When your in school, you're already bound by what you can and can't say, write, hear and wear. That said, why not just serve only HEATHY food in the first place!!!

You have made a serious logical error here.

Situation A exists
Therefore, A is correct

Re:Let's get it over with (1)

aevan (903814) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815679)

Nah, the logic is proper:

Situation A exists
Utilise Situation A to your advantage

The morality of Situation A isn't really relevant to his post.

Re:Let's get it over with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15815697)

Totally agreed, with one addition: why should we (society) pay for the healthcare of people who obviously don't give a shit about living healthy? I'd say, let them eat whatever they choose to eat, but let *them* face their own consequences.

There's already too many obese people, and I don't see why I should both eat healthy and pay for everybody else who doesn't bother.

Obligitory simpsons (1)

ganjadude (952775) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815478)

For the love of god wont someone PLEASE think of the children???!!

Re:Obligitory simpsons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15815640)

dont forget the song from the curfew episode!

'kids! you're only here coz marge forgot her pill'

kids go against their parents and adults, yet in the end they are beaten by old people.

now that would be something.

once again (0, Redundant)

nude-fox (981081) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815484)

people think kids cant think for themselves i dont even understand this just dont give your kid money and pack his lunch then???? dosent really matter kid will just have his freind buy it for him

Re:once again (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15815519)

Why not forbid them to leave the school grounds, and only serve healthy food?

This is actually a welcome initiative... (3, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815498)

Too much is made about child's rights and too little is spoken about dubious advertising for unhealthy food items. In Japan, there is a huge promotional campaign to get kids eat Whale Meat for Lunch!

Obesity in kids is the no. 1 health problem facing the US today, and if parents can have a say on what their kids can order, it's great! The choice is between listening to one's parents and listening to (untrulthful) advertisemsnts. Parents ought to know better.

As usual, the title Big Mother is misleading and mischevous. Parents watching their children cannot be equated to the Government spying on citizens. The former is a duty, the latter is a violation of rights to privacy.

Too bad, Slashdot is resorting to Flamebait to ensure more replies.
 

Re:This is actually a welcome initiative... (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815535)

I fully agree with what you say.

It's a damned disgrace that companies like Coca Cola are allowed to keep vending machines at schools. Candy and coke all day long at school and McDonalds crap for dinner. To make matters worse, instead of attacking this trend, the society bends over backwards to accommodate obese people.

Re:This is actually a welcome initiative... (2, Interesting)

Eivind (15695) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815630)

I agree with your problem-description, though not with the solution.

True. Obesity is a serious health-problem. Quite likely the combination of overweigth and too little physical exersize is the number one health-problem facing America today (and the next generation even more).

Thing is, I do not think you can teach someone to eat healthy and exersize enough by behaving like a control-freak. Kids can and will rebel against such, and even if you *do* manage to force your 12-year old to do as you demand, you'll likely only end up who hates eating healthy and takes every chance he/she gets to eat hamburgers.

People don't generally fall in love with stuff they are literally force-fed.

Want your kid to like healthy food ?

  • Eat varied healthy foods yourself at home.
  • Cook. Let your child help cooking. The finished stuff you buy is generally less healthy than what you can easily make yourself. It's perfectly possible to make a very tasty lasagne with half the fat and double the veggies from the stuff you get in the shop.
  • Stay in the real world. Nobody is supposed to live on pure springwater, carrots and spinach.
  • Don't force-feed your kid veggies or whatever. Serve varied good foods and let the kid discover for himself that a lot of this stuff is excellent.

Want your kid to enjoy using his/her body ?

  • Play soccer with him/her.
  • Bring a frisbee to the beach.
  • Go swimming.
  • Take her/him fishing.
  • Go rock-climbing.

Exersizing for the sake of exersizing tends to be mindnumbingly boring. I used to be a leader in the scouts however, and I've lost count of the kids that would claim they hate sports and sports are boring, only to have the day of their life participating in, for example;

  • Building a bridge over a river from 2 ropes. Cross repeatedly.
  • White-water rafting.
  • Rappelling
  • Catching and returning sheep to where they belong.
  • Building and operating a pedal-driven dishwashing-machine from parts of an old one, plus broken biycles etc
  • Running around like a madman literally *all* fucking day dressed up as a knigth, shooting authenthic middle-age bows, practicing sword-figthing, hauling rocks with the best of them for firing the ballista.
  • digging for hours in a snow-drift to make a snow-cave suitable for sleeping overnigth.
  • Kite-surfing on ski. Windsurfing in summer. Snorkeling.

I could literally add 100s of items to this list with no problem whatsoever. No, not all kids will enjoy all activities. So what ? But you'll have a *really* hard time finding a kid that enjoys none of this.

And you'll have acomplished *much* more than by forcing the kid to do some kind of exersize for the sake of exersize.

No kid will cherish spending another hour at the treadmill for the sake of it. (yeah yeah, I know I'm exxagerating, most parents aren't *that* bad) Most kids I know will *love* the idea of trying to conquer the surf at the beach using a inflatable rubber-boat, and see if daddy flips over more than 11 times this year. (his previous record)

Great, another tax (4, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815505)

MealpayPlus doesn't charge for its system; it makes money on transaction fees when parents put money on kids' accounts.

If this is like some offices, you can't pay in case (article doesn't specify). Approach the counter without a card and you're just met by a queer look from the cashier.

The site says it's a flat $2.00 fee per transactions. Now you're torn between a 1% tax to give the kid a whopping $200 on the card (max) or a 10% tax if you just give them a benjamin every few days.

Re:Great, another tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15815532)

MealpayPlus doesn't charge for its system; it makes money on transaction fees when parents put money on kids' accounts.

Maybe this is what G.W.B meant by "working hard to put food on your family"

In other news... (5, Funny)

ChaseTec (447725) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815514)

Bill Thompson, the only kid at Deerbrook High School still granted pizza privileges, has become the youngest person ever to retire at age 17.

School or Jail: Training Subservience? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15815518)

Are these kids in school or jail? Is this technology just making subservient graduates who will become accustomed to being monitored and not being able to make decisions for themselves?

I applaud them for throwing out parts of their lunch and for trading and subverting the system. At least some of them still have shreds of self determination left inside.

Wait until morning (0, Offtopic)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815527)

My guess is that most of the /.ers with kids are asleep by now; it will be interesting to see how the character of posts changes in 5 or 6 hours. There seems to be way too much misplaced indignation at this hour.

Band Aid (1)

walnutmon (988223) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815540)

I get it, it seems kind of stupid, and pretty easy to get around. What is funny is that it seems that in general our school systems are not very good at finding problems. When they do find one, they are generally even worse in solving them.

So what they did here is find a problem. Too many kids are lazy and fat. In order to solve this problem they... oh god... give mothers the option to monitor what they can order.

So what is wrong with this? Simple, fat fuck kids are GENERALLY fat fuck kids because they have... yep, fat fuck parents! Do you think that these parents are really going to monitor what their kids are eating from an online interface while they sit on the couch chowing down on their 18th Burger King run of the week, sipping on diet cola, so they can have a little cancer with their 3000 calorie nutritionless meal? Of course not!

What is going to happen, is the same thing that happens with ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS, the kids who are pretty good, active, and eat relatively well, are going to suffer because the day they want a couple ice cream cones the alarm bell goes off and he will embarrasingly be turned down at the counter. Then Janine the 300 pound depressed girl with messed up parents orders 3 cheeseburgers and goes to go sit down by herself at a table.

How about this instead. Stop serving dog shit food. Stop selling dog shit food. Teach kids that you actually feel better and have more fun in your life when you are healthy and take reasonably good care of yourself. You don't need to be an athlete, just stay healthy.

When it comes down to it, you can't fix bad parenting in school. Schools can do a lot of good, expecially if you fill it with great inspiring teachers. Of course, it is tough to fill schools with people like this when they make 30K a year and have to teach bullshit like Intelligent Design. We are becoming a society of band-aids and patches. People need a leader. I'd do it, but i'll be damned to hell before I get into politics. If you make it very far in that profession, you have been stripped of what would have made you a good leader many years before.

Now go eat an apple!!! YOU WILL BE WATCHED

Love PB&J (1)

POds (241854) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815545)

But over here (Australia) its Jam, not Jelly and when i tell people about my secret love, they look at me very funny. I havn't had it in ages, because i dont eat a lot of sugary fatty stuff anymore, appart from the 12 donuts, 2 blocks of chockolate and box of musli fruity things i ate over thursday, friday and saterday!

PB&J rules!

Weird issues for Finns (4, Insightful)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815549)

In Finland school lunches are free. Not only are they free, but kids get a healthy meal including fresh vegetables and often fruit every single day, bread and milk is included as well. Everyone eats the same meal, including the teachers. The only exceptions are people with allergies / ethic issues (vegetarians etc). You're free not to eat if you don't like the food, of course.

I strongly believe that good eating habits at an early age is paramount for learning a healthy lifestyle. One can have many opinions of socialistic solutions, but when it comes to nutrition and education I'm all for it. Having seen the muck english school kids have to eat I'm rather grateful I was born in Finland.

My 2 cents, anyway.

Re:Weird issues for Finns (1)

paaltio (978687) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815641)

Certainly agreed. School food is one of the things you don't even really think about when you're going abroad, but when I started studying at USC in LA, I found myself missing Finnish school food.

Which is certainly ironic, seeing as all the students in Finland always seem to be giving the school cafeterias a hard time about the quality of the food. Sure the food's cheaply made and won't quite match the gourmet factor of a real restaurant, but I'd take them any day over a random selection of over-priced fast food where the only really healthy option seems to be to buy a salad.

Re:Weird issues for Finns (1)

246o1 (914193) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815643)

The same is true across most of Japan, up until high school. In high school, kids start bringing their lunches, which are generally quite healthy (rice, pickled veggies, a little fish or meat, maybe a little fruit for dessert is normal), and, usually, prepared by their mothers. It's a real shame the amount of power the food companies have gained in America, but it parallels the general long leash allowed corporate power in the US ('self-regulation' being a popular and ineffectual 'compromise' between those communists who want regulation and the libertarian-types who want us all to be making our own mistakes from the age of 11 on)

Newsflash: nothing is free. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15815666)

Someone had to work and pay taxes for that "free lunch". Contrary to what your local Socialist Indoctrinator says, it just didn't spring out from a magical "lunch machine".

Re:Newsflash: nothing is free. (4, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815689)


Someone had to work and pay taxes for that "free lunch". Contrary to what your local Socialist Indoctrinator says, it just didn't spring out from a magical "lunch machine".


Indeed, about a third of my pay goes to taxes and other similar fees. I'm quite happy about it, as the money is mostly used for sensible spendings. How many medical procedures have you had for free? Education? Real social security?

Yes the system has flaws, and no it's not free as in magically free. But it is parctially free, for the one using the services. It's a matter of opinion if it makes sense to take from those who have and give to those who need, but I'm not complaining as long as I find I can use the services paid for with my tax money when I am in a time of need.

Re:Newsflash: nothing is free. (3, Interesting)

Marsmensch (870400) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815708)

I couldn't agree with you more

It's also worth pointing out that in a system of socialized or largely socialized healthcare, in a democratic and transparent state (like you have in the scandinavian countries), the state has an incentive in promoting a healthy lifestyle for its citizens, and they have a stake in keeping the healthcare system from bein overburdened. It isn't surprising, then, that the most agressive anti-tobacco campaigns in Europe were launched in Sweden before being imitated by other governments.

Of course, many libertarians will tell you that you have a right to pay for you own unhealthy behavior, which is true to a point, but if they believe your health exists entirely in a vacuum without affecting anybody else, they have no understanding of how social costs are... well... social.

The saddest part. (1)

spysmily1 (962459) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815550)

What about the bullies and their likely drop in revenue from those who use this service? I see hard times for this industry. And all you people think about is kid's rights, I swear.

Re:The saddest part. (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815569)

Actually, it's even easier, considering the kid now has a card with anywhere from $20 to $200 on it. And if he's letting himself be bullied that hardcore, he'll likely consent to lying to his parents about where the extra money is going.

Re:The saddest part. (1)

spysmily1 (962459) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815606)

On the card. No actual money to be had. Or can you refund these?

Re:The saddest part. (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815645)

I was implying that while the bully can't convert it into money, getting unlimited stuff from the cafeteria every day for him and his friends 'aint a back racket.

Re:The saddest part. (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815638)

Actually, wouldn't it make contraband items like cookies, cupcakes and other unhealthy foods even more desirable? Hahah Lunch room prohibition. I love it. I'd have RAN my school if we had this sort of operation going down.

The solution (2, Interesting)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815555)

The solution is for schools to serve only health food as determined by a qualified nutritionist. However, states, or better yet, the federal government, needs to throw more money at making school lunches healthier. In fact, why not make it so school lunches are 100% free, limit one per student per day, if all the food there is healthy.

As for soda in schools, charge more (like $1 to $1.25 per 12 oz can). Plus, the caffeine can be beneficial in my opinion.

Good for kids? (4, Interesting)

nbannerman (974715) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815556)

Y'know, some of these kind of practices produce some surprising results in the real world. Whilst you or I probably look on slightly bemused, this kind of behaviour in schools can produce some interesting quirks.

Here in the UK, there has been a similar kind of healthy food drive. Although parents are not given the levels of oversight seen here, fast food and vending machines are quickly becoming dirty words.

However, in some cases children are fighting back in rather funny ways. In one school (I'd find the link if I wasn't late for work!) a group of children started buying snacks, cans of fizzy drink and chocolate from a local wholesaler, and then sold them on to children during break time and lunch.

Expect to see something similar happen here; and make a note of the kids that start doing it, because they might just be the kind of people we see doing well in the business world in a few years time. Of course, it'll cause this prepay system to fall apart and be branded a failure as well, which is probably no bad thing.

Re:Good for kids? (4, Interesting)

nbannerman (974715) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815562)

Well, that wasn't too tough and I guess work can wait a bit longer; BBC News article [bbc.co.uk] discussing the new black market in schools in the UK. I found it quite interesting, hope someone else does as well.

Ok, another "This is crap" moment... (4, Insightful)

Loligo (12021) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815561)


I hear so many people talk about how Americans eat too much, how kids are too fat, and how it's always the parents' fault if a kid is fat.

Now here's a way for parents to control what their kids eat, and people are screaming about how it's invasive and controlling.

Screw you guys. If you're gonna play two sides of an issue, at least seperate it by a few degress, don't sit here and say how it's wrong for parents to let their kids eat crap and then say it's wrong for parents to NOT let their kids eat crap.

Christ.

Not quite... (1)

SpiffyMarc (590301) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815594)

This is more of a way for parents to delegate their responsibility by spending a little cash. Sort-of how we delegate our lawn mowing to day laborers instead of doing it ourselves, soon we'll be able to delegate our parenting to the state.

Another step toward 1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15815563)

This is just another step towards a complete surveillance society. Indoctrinate the youth into accepting that they're being controlled and monitored all the time. Before long this will become more and more common.

Cham

Italian way! (3, Interesting)

cavallo71 (144715) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815567)

We had NO junk food in italy at school
up to university (included).

It really was cheap and healty way to feed kids:
they gave you simple food that was properly cooked.

I live in uk and I've been in the States and now
I'm more than proud of this way.

 

Re:Italian way! (1)

Suzuran (163234) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815590)

But that would mean you would have to cook the food and not just have it shipped in!
How is the school district suppoesd to turn a profit if they have to PAY people?

Re:Italian way! (1)

cavallo71 (144715) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815706)

This depends on the school district size:
the smaller districts have the food delivered
while the largest (like universities)
can have a full time staff.

A 1kg pasta (less than 30cents in the States)
can easily feed 3 well built kids: so the material
can be very cheap (especially if made in the "truly"
italian way).

school district, at least in europe,
do not have to make a profit.
On the other hand the savings in the long run (less healt problems
better life quality) repays itself in a very short time.

what is the problem? (0)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815581)

Just forbid "lunch trading", that is it. The school does not exist to bring the ideological libertarian start in the kids. The school exists to teach children the subjects - math, physics, etc. If the parent wants the kid to eat healthy, school needs to help.

Good job, school systems. Now, to the submitter or whoever stuck the stupid "YRO" category to this: "good" job.

Re:what is the problem? (-1, Flamebait)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815663)

You're a flaming idiot. You're going to forbid basic acts of commerce with what the kids have? Why don't you forbid them from trading anything at all? Oh, and I really want to know how the hell you plan to enforce such an asinine ban. Are we going to link individual pieces of food to each child via some sort of electronic sensor? And don't say that I'm somehow hyperbolising things, becuase other than having a teacher/adult watching over every child in that lunch room (which is pretty much just as bad) that's what would be neccessary. Also, yes the school DOES exist to bring forth the ideological libertarian start in kids. It should teach them to critically think and be rational which leads to (SURPIRSE!!) libertarianism (to some degree anyway). You do realize that schools teach more than the hard sciences (math, physics etc as you listed them)...right? There are government classes...language...literature.
I'm sorry but this is one of the dumber posts I've ever read on slashdot. And that's saying something.
Please either think, or don't post.

Re:what is the problem? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815682)

"You're going to forbid basic acts of commerce with what the kids have? "

Yes, I do.

"Why don't you forbid them from trading anything at all? "

Anything that is not first checked by the parents. I am for it.

You are not hyperbolising. You are just one of the idiotic "kid rights" advocates that do not know what a "balance" or "common sense" is.

If a parent pays for the school, it is a parent right to know where does the money go.

"Also, yes the school DOES exist to bring forth the ideological libertarian start in kids. "

No, sir. You are mistaken US for Soviet Russia (in terms of ideology).

"You do realize that schools teach more than the hard sciences (math, physics etc as you listed them)...right?"

Yes, I realize that, unfortunately they do that. That is why the country is going to hell right now.

Pathetic. (2, Informative)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815595)

I'm 18, so my experience with school cafeterias is still fresh in my memory. I can tell you this: almost every 12-16 year old likes at least one kind of fast food. AND? Fast food means burgers, pizza, and chips, right?
You can't stop them from eating it. They love the stuff. Hell, I know I like it.
The fact is, if your food is COOKED PROPERLY you can get most of the grease and fat OUT of said dishes. You can also reduce the portion, and serve it with healthy food - even INSIDE it. Tomato slices are definitely healthy, and make a great garnish to burgers.
I can't name many situations in which direct "bans" like this should be used, or even work. The article even points out how flawed this system is.
We should be controlling the actual food they eat - not preventing them from eating specific things. Kids just won't eat "health" food unless you bring them up that way from day one. And even then, once they hit 13 they're likely to turn against their upbringing.
It's easier for both them and you if you improve the quality of the food they eat in schools rather than limiting their options.
If my mother had done this to me, I'd have shouted at her until she stopped it, or never paid a penny on school lunches again.
(Yes, I'm a brat. Deal with it.)

I *am* a parent... (4, Interesting)

slippyblade (962288) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815626)

And am whole-heartedly offended by a lot of these comments. This program is yet another level of abstraction between parenting and the children.

I have raised my kids, taught them right from wrong. I am also smart enough to realize that my kids are not idiots. They are not stupid and will find ways around things they don't understand or agree with... Just like I did as a child. When that happens, all you can do as a parent is hope you instilled the proper morals into the child.

I'm sorry, it is NOT up to the lunch lady to determine what my kids eat. If I am that concerned about what my children eat at school, I'll make it myself! At one school they attended, this is exactly what I did. "Some parents don't have time for that!", you might say... Bullshit. If you have the time to screw around and have kids, you MAKE THE DAMN TIME to raise them. It's called parenting.

This shit ranks right up there with Net-Nanny type things. If you mistrust your children to these kinds of extents, then you have failed as a parent and nothing can fix this. More and more the definition of "children" is getting pushed further up the age curve. This lunch program is in High-Schools for crying out loud. Kids who have their driver's licenses and are nearly the age of majority, yet they can't pick their own lunches? Um, yeah. That makes sense.

I could rant on, but I'm tired. Night.

Peer Pressure (2, Informative)

corychristison (951993) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815648)

Disclaimer: I am 17 years of age and have just recently finished my grade 12.

First off, I would like to say that I enjoy the (mis)use of technology to help students in what they eat. However, this is not going to stop them. I am definately not fat or over weight, and I try to eat healthy as often as I can. I cook my own meals, so sometimes I like to relax and just grab a burger... but only once in a while! Although, I am not the greatest role model, as I do sit around on the computer a little too much. ;-)

My younger brother is just entering high school this up-coming year. I hate to admit it, but he seriously needs help in controlling his weight. He weighs much more than I do, and I am very concerned for him. He's an absolute genius in his school work, and he's also very into computers/animation. He's really into Flash Animation, so he sits around a lot. This up-coming year I am going to make sure he get's into a sports team of some sort, but I know that alone wont be enough.

I hate to say it, but right here is wheer Peer Pressure can do some good. These kids need to eat healthier, why not start with the children that do? Have them weasel their way into these kids minds and help show them the way! We need not restrict them, but try to show them that healthier food leads to a healthier lifestyle.
Threats and restriction only lead to uprisings... expect them. ;-)

Does it work both ways? (1)

paxmaniac (988091) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815661)

The sadist in me wants to know if this works the other way: "Yes Johnny, I know you would like an apple, but the computer says you have to have a triple chocolate fudge delight."

A more important question (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815674)

Why are schools not providing their pupils with healthy food to begin with? If the halls are filled with vending machines, and you serve burgers, pizza & fries everyday, is it a wonder that some kids turn out to be fat fucks?

Personally I think parents have the right to restrict what foods their kids eat (through this system if need be), but I believe the system is the best of a bad situation. In fact, I bet the Coca-Cola's of this world would endorse the system since it means they can still sell their crap to the majority.

Bull... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15815698)

Parents, I'll say it again: the more you try to micromanage your kid's lives, the less responsibility for their own well-being they will learn. Remember that the GOAL of parenthood is to give the world a sensible adult. Sensible adults are made by teaching the kid the "why" of what's important, not just keeping an electronic beeper on them at every checkpoint to flash lights and sound alarms. The kid will resent your intrusive treatment of them as if they were a lab rat and grow up to rebel at the worst, and even at best will be ill-equiped to make responsible choices as an adult without green and red lights or buzzes and beeps to guide them.

And why does George Orwell keep getting the credit for predicting the future when Ira Levin was the one who really pegged it in his novel "This Perfect Day"? What flavor totalcake can you have today? Touch the bracelet to the scanner... and bless Uni for the wisdom.

The Thin End of the Wedge (1, Insightful)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815702)

There is no obesity problem.

The truth is, there are skinny six-year-olds who think they are too fat, and Anorexia Nervosa has been diagnosed in boys.

What there is, however, is a government desperately angling to slap a tax on food.

This talk of an "obesity epidemic" is a blatant attempt to whip up the Daily Mail readers {none of whom personally know anybody who is over- or underweight, and would not consider it a problem if they did, but they do see images of overweight people, who clearly have less money than they do, on Sky TV} into a frenzy, running around like headless chickens demanding for Something To Be Done. And when the "ordinary" people call for it, the Chancellor will hold up his tatty red briefcase and announce VAT on certain, "unhealthy" foodstuffs. Not, of course, the sort of foodstuffs the Daily Mail readers eat. And the Daily Mail readers will be satisfied. The Sun will be given a new story {most probably involving minor celebrities or paedophiles} to divert attention from the new tax.

However, once the scope of VAT is broadened, it never, ever narrows. Following a panning by the press after the initial announcement in the March budget, the bad news will have been sufficiently well buried by the November budget for the "VAT on food" experiment to be trumpeted as a success, and an intention will be announced to extend it. Pretty soon, the Daily Mail readers will find 22.5% VAT on their saumon en croûte and mange tout.

It's all about money. It's not even really about power as an end in its own right; this concept certainly does exist, but often is just a side-effect of the unfortunate human tendency to conflate means with ends. Power is always initially a means to some end, often a noble one, but eventually the means becomes more important than the end.

Has school lunch changed? (1)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 7 years ago | (#15815707)

When I was a kid, you either brought your lunch or ate the same meal as everyone else until high school. Once you reached the high school level in my area, there was an a la carte cafeteria, but before that it was a planned meal. This article makes it sound like kids as young as 8 are choosing their own meals. Hell, I wouldn't let my kids choose their own meals at home at the age of 8, much less at school.
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