Wii Fit is Mean

December 29, 2010

What’s that saying?

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

I think if computers are going to act more and more like humans, they should be required to follow the basic rules of courtesy that we learn as small children.

And that goes for gaming consoles– specifically, Wii Fit.

I knew Wii Fit is designed to make your onscreen avatar look, more or less, like the real you.

I did not, however, know it had to right to tell you that 1.) you’re “obese” and 2.) exactly how much weight you are required to lose to bring you down to a weight that the Wii deems “appropriate”.

But, apparently, that’s what it does. It happened to one of my cousins.

If the Wii thinks you are an unacceptable weight, it will make your poor little avatar balloon up on screen, sometimes to a point where your arms stick out and you waddle like a penguin.

The screen will flash red, and the words “OBESE!” will scroll across the screen.

Then, it will tell you exactly how much poundage you need to drop.

Well, thankyouverymuch WII, but I don’t need a gaming console telling me how much weight I need to lose.

Chances are, if I’m overweight, I know it. I don’t need a reminder, especially from a system that isn’t even human.

You don’t even know what chocolate tastes like!

And, last I checked, making fun of a person’s weight isn’t the way to get a person to exercise.

It’s just plain mean.

It’s the equivalent to walking into a gym and having a personal trainer say to you “Holy crap! Thank God your here ’cause my-oh-my You. Are. HUGE. Get your ass on a treadmill stat.”

A good trainer…hell, probably even a bad trainer….would never say that to a client.

Luckily, the cousin who was relaying this story is confident, self-assured, and not willing to let a computer hurt her feelings.

But what if a teenager, who’s self-confidence is probably struggling at best, had the Wii tell her she needs to lose weight? As if peer pressure isn’t bad enough.

Hel-lo plummeting self-esteem and eating disorder!

So, we came up with a solution. We’re going to invent a gaming system that uses compliments and encouragement, not insults and degrading remarks.

For example:
Instead of saying “Hey fatso, you need to lose 67 pounds to be a functioning member of society”

Ours will say:
“Day-um girl, you looking FIONE today! Try substituting an apple instead of chips for lunch and you’ll look even better, if that’s possible!”

See the difference? It makes me want to eat an apple!

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Teen Cutting is an Issue

February 2, 2010

I’m lucky enough to be one of those people who can honestly say I love my job.

And I’m not just saying that to score brownie points with any of my co-workers who happen to stumble upon this humble little blog. I really, truly, enjoy what I do.

Now, for those of you who aren’t quite sure what exactly it is that I do (and I suspect that’s almost everyone), let me enlighten you.

I’m an assistant editor for a parenting website.

In other words, I give my expert (?!) parenting (??!!) advice to all our readers who look to us for entertainment ideas, current events, tough topics, and any other roadblocks parents might run into during the (hopefully only) 18 years they spend raising their child.

And although some of you like to think I spend my days doing arts and crafts, researching and reading children’s books, and basically screwing around (I won’t name names), there are some parts of my job that cover serious topics.

So, I’m required to stay up-to-date on current issues and trends.

In other words, I read the news.

…what? You mean to tell me you don’t all spend the first 2 hours at work reading the news? Like I believe that.

Anyway, I came across an article today that brings light to an often overlooked teenage issue —cutting and self-injury.

Did you know an individual who cuts or self-injures themselves is 75 times more likely to commit suicide?

Couple that with typical teenage angst and internal torture, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster.

And, although experts have seen a rise in cutting and self-injury in recent years, funding for this mental health condition often falls by the wayside to make room for more trendy issues like autism.

Yeah, I said it. Trendy.

Now before anyone starts sending me hate mail, let me point out that I’ve written many articles on the importance of autism research and potential causes and treatments.

I just think that it’s been so overexposed in the media, other important issues are overshadowed.

So, throw me a bone and read the article.

It’s a light read. Really.

But, just remember, teens are weird creatures.

So don’t start suspecting every teen you see wearing long sleeves in the summer is a cutter. They just might be trying to “express themselves.”

On a side note, this week is going by really slow. Maybe it’s because I’m going to Jamaica on Sunday.

Hey, everyone needs a mental health day. Or week.

πŸ™‚

Those topics go together like….well actually, they don’t go together at all.

Sorry if I seem all over the place today. I’ve officially switched into vacation mode. But before we talk about that, let’s get serious.

It’s just for a second, I swear!

How old were you when you had your first drink?

13? 15? 18?

Am I close? Or am I being too conservative?

Me? I was 25.

……what? I was!

Alright, I only put that because I know my dad reads my posts, (Hi Dad!), so I have to pretend I’m somewhat responsible.

I’m not sure what the average age is, but I think it’s safe to assume most kids have tried an alcoholic drink by the time they’re 16 or 17. I’m not saying all 16 and 17 year olds are going out and getting smashed every weekend (although I know some are), but it would be pretty naive to think they’re not experimenting.

Anyway, back in October, Nickelodeon aired a special episode titled “Kids in Rehab” for their series Nick News with Linda Ellerbee.

Of the 2 million people who checked into rehab in 2007, almost 25,000 of them were under the age of 15.

15 years old.

And we’re not talking they had tried a drink by the age of 15, or even gone out and gotten drunk a couple times by the age of 15. These kids that checked into rehab were alcoholics.

High-freaking-five Nickelodeon for bringing attention to this.

I already thought you rocked because you constantly play marathons of Spongebob Squarepants, but highlighting such a scary and important issue makes you rock even more.

OK, now onto the second part of this post…

This time tomorrow, I’ll be on a plane, headed HERE:

StMaarten

Ahhhhhhhh

And this is what I’ll look like flying in:

Did you see me waving??

Needless to say, I’m pumped.

I won’t be anywhere near a computer for the next week, so this will be the last post for a bit.

Have a great weekend/week. I’ll be thinking of you all while I’m on the beach.

Wait, who am I kidding. No I won’t. πŸ™‚

How many of you watched the Miss America pageant growing up?

Anyone?

No? Really?

Well, I did. In fact, I went to it several years in a row in Atlantic City with my childhood best friend, as a birthday gift to her from her parents. They always let her bring a friend, and guess who she always picked?

You guessed it. Me. πŸ™‚

God, I loved those trips. 13-years-old, parent-free, roaming up and down the boardwalk at 3 AM, the wind in my hair, the sand under my feet, a beer in my hand….

I mean…just kidding Mom and Dad!

Although I will admit, Atlantic City was the first place I ever saw a drug dealer.

And a hooker.

And a drug dealer with a hooker.

OK then….onto my point….

The Miss California pageant is doing away with the swimsuit “uniform” in the competition.

California, of all places. The one state with more bronzed, blond beach bums than all the other states in the country combined has suddenly gone all conservative.

And I’m glad.

But first let me snicker at the phrase “swimsuit uniform”. Seriously people? It’s called a bikini.

But don’t get confused. They’re not doing away with the swimsuit competition completely, just the identical suits…meaning contestants are allowed to wear whatever style they’d like, presumably one that will flatter their body type.

I don’t think I need to tell you why I think this is a good idea. California is finally realizing that beauty (not to sound corny) comes in all shapes and sizes. And considering a large part of the pageant’s fan base is young teens, it’s important to convey that message.

So, kudos to CA.

Who knows, maybe you’ll see me prancing across the stage in next year’s pageant.

As long as burkas are considered acceptable swim wear.

Awesome Awesome Awesomeness

October 13, 2009

This is me:

What? You don't believe me?

What? You don't believe me?

Ha. Just kidding.

Actually, that’s what the media would make me look like in order to make me fit the “ideal” definition of beauty by today’s standards.

Altering people’s faces? Ridiculous. I know. It makes me mad, too. I mean really, who would want to mess with this gorgeous face?
bad_pic

Ok ok, that’s enough. All joking aside, this really is a serious issue. So, that’s why This. Campaign. Is. Awesome.

We’re all influenced by television, movies, and commercials every single day, whether we like to think we are or not. Dove is finally taking the first step to educate, motivate, and inspire young girls to look outside the ideal definition of beauty. Because let’s face, we don’t all look like Marilyn Monroe. And we shouldn’t want to look like her, and we most definitely shouldn’t be teaching our children to think that physical beauty is all that matters in life.

I apologize for all the italics. In case you can’t tell, I feel very strongly about this.

So instead of going on and on, all I’m really asking you to do is watch the video.

Well, and to buy Dove products from now until you die.

I’m actually thinking of handing out Dove products for Halloween. Is that taking it too far?

BMI screenings in school?

September 28, 2009

Back in April, the Public Health Counsel in Massachusetts unanimously voted to begin BMI screenings for students to determine if students are overweight. The screenings were set to begin this fall.

During the next two years, screenings will be phased in, with over 286,000 students expected to undergo evaluation by the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

My feelings on this? Well, I’m torn. On one hand, childhood obesity is a growing epidemic. I applaud Massachusetts for taking a proactive approach and taking the first step to help curb this issue. They are following in the footsteps of New York and Arkansas, who have been screening students for years.

On the other hand, I’m concerned about the privacy and confidentiality of the screenings, and the possible effects it could have on a student’s self-esteem. Where will the testings take place? In the classroom? In the school nurse’s office? We all know how cruel children can be, especially when it comes to weight and other physical appearances. Being overweight is hard enough for most children – having the results of an often times inaccurate test be made known to a school full of kids (accidentally or on purpose) can be a devastating blow to a child’s confidence.

Perhaps a better approach would be to require a BMI screening from a pediatrician before the start of the school year. The test can be done in the privacy of a doctor’s office, and the child can receive immediate directions and health advice in the event he is found to be overweight.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the state taking responsibility for the health and wellness of children – my main issue is the psychological effects this could have on children in the event their results are made known to fellow classmates.

How do you feel about this? Do you think Massachusetts has the right to impose this ruling? Would you want your child to have a BMI test at school?

On a side note, I didn’t even touch upon the inaccuracy of BMI screenings. I’ll save that for another post.

PS- Many thanks to Mike for sending this article along! πŸ™‚