Another video game myth has been shattered
Posted by Sue
We all know that video games keep kids indoors, socially isolated, and immobilized except for their thumbs, right? Wrong. A couple of White House bureaucrats and their kids are busting that myth with a little help from Pokemon.
In a whitehouse.gov blog post, Peter Emanuel reports that his 11-year-old son, Devon, just got the new Pokemon DS game that comes with a pedometer that strengthens your pocket monster the more you walk. Devon likes it so much that he wrote a letter to the First Lady suggesting it as a way to help her in her campaign to fight child obesity:
Dear First Lady Michelle Obama:
My dad told me that you think it is really important that kids exercise and eat right, so I wanted to write this letter to tell you about a new video game I just got because you would find it interesting. My parents are always telling me that I have been playing my video games all day and that I should go outside and play. My sister, Isabel, plays softball and soccer, but I’m not into that. I was really excited this weekend because my dad took me out to pick up the new Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver game that I ordered. The store helped me unlock a new character in my game when I picked it up, and they gave me a Poke Walker that I clip to my pants. It counts my steps when I walk. Today I beamed one of my Pokémon named Onix into the Poke Walker. When I walked around so did my Pokémon. He earned watts in the game and that helps him evolve. The book also said that when I earn enough watts I can start battles and catch other Pokémon that I usually can’t find. I want to earn enough watts so I can catch Castiform or Kecleon. The book says that once I catch them in the Poke Walker I can beam them back into my game. I haven’t done that yet. I need to take a longer walk so that I can earn enough points. Dad says it should stop raining soon and we can walk around the neighborhood. I hope you are having a good time at the White House.
One of his dad’s colleagues, Debbie Stine, reports that her daughter Tina-Marie is also getting into walking with her Pokewalker. (And apparently you need to walk 1000 miles to unlock all the available routes, so better have some comfy shoes and keep those water bottles full!)
Devon mentions in his letter that his sister plays sports, but “I’m not into that.” How many of us were treated like outcasts in PE class because we simply couldn’t hit a ball or run as fast as the others? What are you learning when you’re seated on a bench or isolated in the outfield? With new games and new technology, now everyone can choose to be active and social in ways they enjoy and are good at, whether it’s traditional sports or exergaming. None of it is “wrong”. Go Devon, go Isabel, go Tina-Marie, and more power to your parents and your monsters.