The more we sit in front of visual display monitors, the fatter we get. And kids, who increasingly substitute more and more of their play time outdoors for time indoors with their computers and video games, are especially at risk.
Itâ€™s a real problem. But do we need a grand program to solve the problem?
In New Mexico, environmental groups are suggesting busing public school kids to under-visited state parks, forcing them to play in the great outdoors.
And since this costs money, add a â€œsin taxâ€ to sales of new televisions and video games.
Thereâ€™s symmetry to the idea, so it almost seems responsible. But it seems something else, too: regimenting kids into play is the kind of thing a popular German enviro-political group instituted in the 1920s and â€™30s. It kind of gives me the creeps.
The natural playground for kids is nature â€” where I spent a huge hunk of my time, as a kid. Kids nowadays suffer from what the professionals call â€œNature Deficit Disorder.â€ Parks provide nature and order in a neat little mix. But a freer mix would work better: letting the kids out again, to play near ponds, in creeks, culverts, and briar patches.
This is something parents should think about.
Meanwhile, a cheaper get-kids-walking program would be to park buses half a block further down from the school door. No new tax or grand scheme necessary.
This is Common Sense. Iâ€™m Paul Jacob.