Children no longer have the same type of aggressive or physical game play like their 1990's counterparts due to the rise in technological systems that encourage them to completely “veg out” in front of their television or game console. This essay aims to shed light on this matter and provide its readers with alternative and creative ways by which a child may be encouraged to try to play active games that will help them get the kind of physical exercise that they need for their age. A closer look at the way marketing and media strategies by the Lego Institute have been changing over the years in order to supposedly help children develop their motor, sensory, and perceptions skills at a faster rate, will show that the interactive media also encourages loss of real play time that should be used to benefit the health development of children. Electrical gadgets and interactive toys change the way that our children live their lives. While the brick and mortar toys of the past such as the Nerf-ball and SuperSoaker 2000 all encouraged highly active game play outside of the home where children can get the full benefits of exposure to sunlight and fresh air, the interactive video games of today instead encourage them to sit on their couch, put on headsets, and flick away with their thumbs while watching avatars move across their TV screen. Such sedentary activities do not encourage anything more than Myopia and lethargy among young children. Although parents and child experts recognize this current
play environment as disturbing and contributory to the health problems of developing children, they are powerless to stop its growth because the current play environment of the child is dictated by the marketing strategies of big toy corporations. This was the subject of a study done by Stanford University in which researchers concluded that these corporations have turned play time into a fashion related and social status activity for children. Tagged as the “Sedentary Generation” by the Stanford University study, it would seem that technological advances over the past several decades have created a whole new platform by which children socialize and enjoy each others company. A significant increase in the ownership of television and ease of access by which game consoles can now be purchased has produced a decrease in physical activity outside of the school system. In fact, for some children, their only active play time would fall under Physical Education at school and nothing else. Outside of this set up, the study indicates that there is a severe lack of public venues where children can safely play active games that could contribute to their health and well-being. Sprawling urban developments have destroyed or claimed the areas once used as public parks or backyard forests in family homes. Due to the lack of public play areas and increasing safety concerns about having children play in town and suburban streets, the chance for the generational passing of traditional childhood games from parent to child has been eliminated. This has caused children to redefine their playtime and look to other influences such as television, for ways and means to play. It is this generation-to-generation play heritage gap that the marketing strategists have preyed and played upon and ultimately exploited. From movies to TV shows, cartoons and toy advertising - all of these factors help to market a totally new age of play time for children.