May 18, 2005

Supervising kids with their own shoes.

The BBC reports on a new kind of shoe:
The shoe - dubbed Square-eyes - is fitted with a unique insole that records the amount of exercise a child does and converts it into television watching time.

One button on the shoe records the amount of steps taken by the child over the course of the day.

Another transmits this information to a base station connected to the TV.

Anything wrong with this?


Richard Fagin said...

Yes, there is something wrong with it. My kids have been banned from TV for 6 of the 11 months that we've lived in our new house because they absolutely refuse to keep their part of the house free from dirty clothing strewn about the floor. At the rate they're going, they'll be moved out of the house before they'll see TV again. I need a different disciplinary tool.

Meade said...

"Square-eyed" shoes for children of myopic parents too preoccupied to take their kids to the park themselves.

James Wigderson said...

So let me get this straight. There are shoes that keep track of a kid's exercise habits because the parents are too lazy to get off the couch to check on the kids themselves? And the data is fed back to a TV?

Why have kids at all?

Amanda said...

I think it could be a good idea actually . . . not to replace parental attention, but to motivate kids who have become pretty-much couch potatoes to "earn" their tv privileges. Personally, we haven't had a tv for over a year and my daughter hasn't even missed it - but I realize that is not how most kids are - which is why the shoes may be an interesting idea for families who don't know how to get "junior" out of the house to play.

TigerHawk said...

Is there anything wrong with it? Of course not, just as there is nothing wrong with putting a leash on your children because that makes it easier to keep track of them. However, the fact there might be demand for the technology speaks volumes for the moral poverty of parents. Sure, one can shape the behavior of children using Skinneresque operant conditioning, but would it not be better to teach them to think about their choices?

I say this as a parent who believes that his children spend too much time in front of screens of all sorts instead of exercising or reading books. However, I would rather achieve the lasting result of wisdom than the ephemeral modification of their behavior, so I am willing to put up with short-term defeats for the long-term victory that only sustained parental hectoring can achieve.

rafinlay said...

Management by remote control never works. to put it bluntly: people cheat. Are all these kids so dumb that they can't lend their shoes to someone else to build up points? I sense the dawning of a new entrepreneurial age of excercise-willing kids earning money from the exer-phobic.

Simon Kenton said...

rafinlay - they'll toss the shoes in the dryer on air cycle, discover they've built up hours of brain-death credits, and post the secret to the internet. Like connecting an electric motor to the odometer cable, down at Smilin' Bob's Pre-Owned Vehicular Emporium.

Amanda - I shot my tv in 82. You may say what you like about all the benefits of raising tubeless children, but the real benefit is how much easier it makes parenting.

Tigerhawk - 7 230-grain slugs from a .45. Or if a long-range marksman, use a .308 at 600 - 800 yards. Very few shots you fire in a lifetime are as much fun as these. I've shot recalcitrant cars, witless computers, fuzzy long-lenses, and insulting answering machines. All of it helped - there's a mysterious connection between your appliances, and you may be sure that when that answering machine was blasted from the shores of light into nothingness and electronic night, not ONE of my other appliances gave me any crap for 2 years after. But none of it was as much fun as dropping the hammer on the TV.

purple_kangaroo said...

What's wrong with just turning off the TV and sending the kids outside to play, encouraging them to play a sport, or taking a trip to the park or the zoo?

I can't imagine ever buying anything like that. For one thing, I doubt it would really be effective in getting kids to exercise, and for another thing I'm more likely to grant or take away TV priveleges (actually, my kids watch videos not TV) based on other behaviors than on exercise.

I have, however, used a leash on my toddlers in crowded places, and I think there's no comparison. When you've got 2 or 3 kids plus several bags of shopping and a stroller or cart to push, a leash is a great safety measure. For those few months between when your kid starts walking and when they learn to stay right with you, it can be useful.

It has nothing to do with lazy parenting--a kid can yank their hand out of yours in a flash even if you have them by the hand, and disappear into the crowd with a stranger before you can grab them.

A leash is a great consequence (which I found very effective) to use in public if a young child is not obeying, won't hold your hand, throws a tantrum, etc.

Stephen said...

I hope you can set a ratio on these things. I certainly don't think 1:1 is appropriate, that'd be far too much TV time...

Steven said...

Is there anything wrong with it? Well, they're utterly worthless, since they'd be incredibly easy to game. And the creator and her supervisior are clearly delusional, with statements like:

"Ten years ago [which would mean 1995], children were entertained by playing games with their friends, now they are cooped up in their bedrooms watching hours of television programmes."


"It will raise awareness among the family of their sedentary lifestyle and bring about a change in behaviour for the whole family."

I'm not sure I'd trust the safety of anything designed by people with such a loose grip on reality.