At DNC, No Child Left Inside Group Blames Video Games

A friend attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week. Among the many items he snagged was a pamphlet from the No Child Left Inside Coalition, a group which seeks to foster environmental awareness and activity among young people.

That’s all quite commendable. Less praiseworthy, however, is the fact that the group’s brochure (obtained by GP) takes a cheap shot at video games in its opening paragraph:

Young people across America are spending more and more time inside – hooked up to video games, computers, and television, instead of learning, playing and exploring outside. The results are profound: increases in childhood obesity, a lack of understanding of the environment and a disconnection from the natural world.

Why some kids don’t go outside or don’t get enough exercise or are overweight would seem to be very complex social issues involving a myriad of factors, including available recreational opportunities, socioeconomic status, neighborhood safety, parenting, nonstop marketing of high-calorie food and drinks, etc.

Thumbs-down to No Child Left Inside for pointing the finger at video games…

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Funny, politions always blame someone else. Right? The politics are never wrong apparntly.  Half of the democrotic party is over weight, but they didn’t have video games?

  2. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Blaming videogames?

    Why not blame mother nature for being a total bitch?

    I’ll not trust any mythological figure whose method of preparing us for the world was to try and kill as many of us as she can.

    That, and insects eat me alive. Something about my scent attracts female mosquitos by the dozens. At least one bite for every thirty minutes I spend outside. I’m looking forward to Planet Parking-lot.

  3. 0
    Anonymous says:

    oh so do you write "news" about something found in brochures and random crap like that so long as it "condemns" videogames now??

    "Young people across America are spending more and more time inside – hooked up to video games, computers, and television, instead of learning, playing and exploring outside"

    how can you write a story about this?do you call it news too?? they’ arent even attacking videogames its saying the simple truth, we are spending more time inside, cause we have more interesting things to do inside.

    sorry gamepolitics, I’ve had enough of your biased stories being passed as "news". all you do is scavenge the web in search for ANYONE that might have anything critic to say about videogames, (regardless if its a constructive critique) and then whine pubicly about it.

    my neighbour is strongly against VG I’ll send you his contact, he’ll provide you with material for years to come!!

    but do we care about what my neighbour thinks? NO! does it make a difference? NO! do we care or does it make a difference if some random organization writes a brochure saying that ppl is spending time inside? NOOOO!!!

    GP stories used to have a good point and some news its like a blog run by some 15 year old complaining about whoever has anything to say about VG.

    but hey take it easy anyway..its constructive critique. maybe next time you’ll select a story that’s worth writing and reading because the people involved have some kind of influence in the "game politics".

  4. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Man, that’s an ambiguous article title.  "No Child Left Inside Group".  No child left inside WHAT group?  That’s how I read it.  I… have no point in saying this, that’s just how it went.

  5. 0
    Ben ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I find it funny how I got yelled at for cussing at Thompson when there are posters like this.

    He just told GP to screw themselves and told them to commit suicide, wheres the fuss?

  6. 0
    Ben ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Exactly. The older generation does nothing but bitch about how bad we are. In reality, they’re more at fault then we are. But they don’t want to look for solutions, just scape-goats.

  7. 0
    Krayt'heili ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Thats bullshit.

    I’ve been a gamer since, like, birth (my father taught me to play) and I have a social life. I "go outside". I even have a bikini tan for chrissakes (It was an accident, but a tan notheless!)

    If they want to blame someone for "obesity" or any other factors they think up, blame the parents who didn’t teach them how to learn from videogames (Who else learned to read from Final Fantasy?) or who fed them twinkies instead of real meals.

    Video games aren’t societies source of problems. Society IS the problem. The fact that people can point the finger at anything but themselves is the real deal here.

    As soon as people can say "Oh, yeah, I guess it is my fault my kids a fat ass" then we can cure this problem.

  8. 0
    Vagen says:

    While I don’t think video games turn sane people into killers, I do agree that they play a large role in childhood obesity (other factors including poor diet also contribute of course).  Parents need to take responsibility for their children’s well being, but there is no denying that a child is undisciplined, and many of them, given the choice, would sooner play Halo than sports.  We aren’t talking about rational adults here.  We are talking about Cheetoh-eating-Naruto-watching-avoiding-physical-exertion-at-all-costs-anime-frothy-fanatic children, who possess all the discipline of, well, children.  "No Child Left Inside" was correct in pointing out video games’ role in fatty kids.  They are right in trying to educate parents about this.  Children need adults to make choices for them, because left to their own devices, kids make the worst possible choices.  I also support censoring children from violent video games, while granting adults free access (free being defined as unrestricted, not free of monetary charge).  Generally speaking, children are far more impressionable than adults.  There are exceptions of course, but in general, adults are far better at separating fantasy from reality, than children are.  And to any minors who might be reading this:  you may think you know what’s best for you, but you don’t.  Experience gives adults a perspective you currently lack.  And we all thought we knew what was best when we were kids.

  9. 0
    Ben ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    No one said they are calling for a ban. However, they’re still blaming video games for many of the worlds problems. Whether or not video games contribute to obesity or not is insignificant, because hundreds of other things do as well.

    Also, were not the ones freaking out about this. Your the only one whose being a crazy asshole.

  10. 0
    Anonymous says:

     This is getting kind of sad, in that both this site and the people who post on it , both of which are usually pretty intelligent by internet standards, go ”ZOMG they said a bad thing about vidja games there stupid.” You guys act like it’s a fucking religon, and you cannot allow to see it blasphemed against. Video games do contribute to obesity, this group isn;t calling for a ban on them, they just want kids to go ioutside more. Calm the fuck down.

  11. 0
    JustChris says:

    I think parents get tired of seeing their children come into their line of sight every day, after work. But when families have satellite TV, broadband connections and game consoles, their kids will make a candy store out of their own home and never leave. I also see many other toys becoming more electronic. Some parents overlook the changes of their kids’ habits as they give them video games and then forget how to keep their habits controlled.

    On top of it, most people work inside buildings, and sometimes sit in front of computers for their job. Maybe they get tired of seeing their kids in front of computers because it reminds them of the grind and tedium of work tasks. And for some people, working indoors just makes them want to get out more whenever they can.

  12. 0
    Anonymous says:

    While I hate people who demonize video games, I hate even more people who play the victim card by exaggerating bullshit.  You read as far as video games, and apparently quit.  Also to blame according to the pamphlet: the internet, and television.

    If kids played a lot of Scrabble or Risk, no doubt board games would be on the list too.  Masturbation would probably be there, if it weren’t a bit taboo.  The point seems to be, kids need to go outside to appreciate the environment, and they don’t because they have too much to do inside.  Not that kids hate the environment and video games is the direct cause.

    You are distorting the small to create controversy for your political views.  I strongly hate this type of behavior, even when I tend to agree with those views.  It sounds like this group is full of shit, but screw you and everyone like you.

    ps. kill yourself tia

  13. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Speaking from my life, I feel I can single handedly shake this down, I’ve been using computers for 9 years, and playing video games for roughly 15 years, and I’m only 18, I’m not obese, I have a girlfriend, and I understand the world more than anyone I know, that paragraph couldn’t be further from the truth, all they want is a sheep to play ploy while they make people believe in a silly program that feeds off governmental help and does nothing for anyone except its investors.

  14. 0
    Ken ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If you don’t want kids to be obese, throw their asses outside and lock them out of their house. Although there is a health risk with them getting asthma from all that shit in the sky.

  15. 0
    Xale says:

    Lol that reminds of the speech all the kids got in 5th grade about how we had to grow out of tag. You know with all the dangerous running around it involves.

  16. 0
    Ben ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If you live in a crowded neighborhood, their aren’t many ways you can explore. I couldn’t play sports because my yard was to small and the balls would always fall in the my neighbors yard.

    Besides, anyone who thinks video games are solely to blame for these problems is extremely foolish.

  17. 0
    Anonymous says:

    As a former boy scout I can honestly say…nature sucks! It’s full of huge blood sucking bugs, water you can only drink after adding tablets that make it taste like crap, and rocks that jab you in the back no matter how thick your sleeping bag. And using an RV is not camping.

  18. 0
    SS says:

    IF it was my bike I would have rather been beaten up by all 4 of them rather than let them take it.  It’s just that they go around in gangs and can get smaller groups.  4 vs 3 would have resulted in an ass-kicking for us.

    By the way I’m not saying that kids should stay inside but i’m just explaining why parents are paranoid.  It’s good for them to band up to fight threats.  What i’m saying is that parents of younger kids are afraid of this.  No problem with letting your 10-year learning how to stand up for themselves but pitting them against 15-17 year olds is dumb as hell.


  19. 0
    Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I hate people that are too stupid to realize that video games are not to blame when it comes to this stuff.  Parents need to be held responsible for the way they raise their kids.

  20. 0
    Papa Shango ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

     Oh no, not the dreaded inner city kids!!!!


    That sounds like a reason to push kids outside even more. Let kids learn to stand up for themselves instead of letting people steal their stuff and only mustering out a  "Please kind sir, don’t take my bicycle. I rather do enjoy it."

  21. 0
    SS says:

    Yesterday a my, a friend, and a cousin were praciticing basketball.  Some inner city kids(we live in a suburb) came and wanted to play against us.  After the match one of them took his bike.  my friend just told the guy not to take it.  He said he needed it and took it.  The friend looks on and doesn’t do anything.  There were 4 of them and 3 of us and they had  the bigger guys so he didn’t take a chance.

    This is in East Lansing, and those kids are from the inner city.  I can see where some of the paranoia comes from.  Truth be told, it’s not a simple problem of being overprotecive.  Parent’s of younger kids would not want their kids hanging around with rotten apples like them.  But they still should find something fun for their kids to do outside in a decent setting. 

  22. 0
    Thomas ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    A far more likely culprit is the fear and paranoia that most parent’s now have about their children’s safety.

    Can’t let them play out of sight, they might get molested, or photographed by perverts, or fall and break a bone, or get attacked by gang members, or hit by a car, or get sick.. or.. or.. or..

    I grew up in a small village, where everyone knew everyone elses business.. before computers came along in a big way, we all played outside all day pretty much when we were not in school. If we got in a fight, or fell over, and went crying home we were patched up and sent right back out.. on one occasion there was a report of a "bad man" being spotted near the local park, we were simply told not to go to said park and kick anyone who tried to grab us.. and that was all we needed to know.

    Combine paranoia, lack of discipline meaning kids do dumber things, and the bizarre need to educate them overmuch about bad things.. and of course kids stay inside, they and their parents are both scared witless of the outside world.

  23. 0
    Cecil475 says:

    For some odd reason, the first time I saw the headline, I thought it said No Child Left Behind was blaming videogames. Which would be funny.


     – Warren Lewis

  24. 0
    Papa Shango ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

     They forgot to add that ever since video games became more popular and more realistic it has caused more wars. I mean Pong caused the Iran conflict.Street Fighter caused the Iran-Iraq war.  Then Street Fighter II came out and caused The Gulf War. Then Wolfenstein 3d caused the Somali Civil War. Then Doom brought on the Yugoslav Wars. Then Grand Theft Auto caused the Kosovo Conflict. And to top it all off if it wasn’t for Halo:Combat Evolved and Grand Theft Auto III being put out we wouldn’t have every had the War on Terrorism.


    Video Games are the root of all evil, it’s so obvious.

  25. 0
    Matthew says:

    They’re right, though. If kids are spending more time inside, they’re probably in front of something electronic while they’re there. Gaming and playing outside are almost polar opposites, and if a kid is doing one then they’re probably not doing the other. There are, of course, stupidly many reasons why someone might spend more time inside than someone else, but the statement is pretty valid and pretty innocent: Kids need some time outside.

    Oh, and there is plenty to learn outside in addition to the wonderfulness of identifying trees from quite far away. You can learn the limits of your own body, how much it hurts when you go beyond those limits and end up faceplanting the concrete*, and you learn more about acting in a group than Team Fortress 2 could ever teach.

    Young people across America are spending more and more time inside… The vital unasked question here is, Why?

    * Anyone else think it’s weird how so many kids have broken bones messing around on bikes, yet there are no parent groups trying to ban them?

  26. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Right, why play real tennis when you can play inside with a box while breathing recycled air. Who would want to experience the real thing with real people, anyway. I’m sure the the images of Yosemite in Flight Simulator are good enough that I don’t need to go there to check it out… 

  27. 0
    Vake ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

     They’re right. All these video games that encourage healthy lifestyles and exercise are evil! Kids shouldn’t be playing DDR and Wii Fit when they could be outside inhaling smog and forest fire smoke. Nothing says "I care about my kids" than playing out in the sun until we develop skin cancer!

    Seriously though, I’m not against outdoors. Moderation in all things, including outdoor activity and indoor gaming. But when will people open their eyes to the mental and physical benefits of cybernatography?

  28. 0
    Tim says:

    You are right: video games are probably the victim of a backlash. Couple the idea that kids are universally unsafe outside and the perception that "there’s nothing to do" in the world beyond the reach of an extension cord (bogus points of view IMO) and why would anyone subject themselves to to the outside world?

    Gaming isn’t the only reason kids don’t go outside, the group is missing something if they really think that there is no learning that can come from gaming. But I don’t like basing my comments on soundbites like the 48 words quoted above (no offense GP), so Google can helped find this info about what No Child Left Inside is:

    The "group" that wrote the brochure is a coalition of 725 organizations that represent over 42 million people (some of them must play video games, no?) who are looking to get the No Chlid Left Inside legislation passed.

    No Child Left Inside is a bill that will "Help schools and states enhance and expand environmental education … provide money for teacher training and support programs… encourage the development of outdoor environmental education activities as a regular part of the curriculum… Place qualified, expert teachers in the nation’s classrooms… Give more people a stake in creating the next generation of environmentally conscious students by connecting teachers and professionals from environmental fields. " (from the US house of representatives website)

    The bill just passed the house of representatives with a bipartisan 293-109, and doesn’t say anything about banning video games. Think W would sign it?

  29. 0
    Anonymous says:

    In a way, it’s true, they just aren’t looking far enough back.

    The question isn’t "what are they doing instead of getting into the outside world?" it should be "why are they finding other things to do in preference to the outside world?"

    It’s a vicious circle, and, in many ways, computer games are the victim here more than, for example TV, since TV tries to convince you that the real world is filled with terrorists and phsycopaths, fear is a powerful motivator, whereas a game is not trying to tell you the ‘truth’ in any way, it is merely trying to be entertaining, Id Games saying that Hitler rode around in a robotic spider is not the same as, for example, Fox News claiming the same thing.

  30. 0
    Zevorick says:

    It’s a cool day in Summer when the temperature is BELOW 100. Just to give you some perspective, my step father was taking care of something on the room, and out of curiosity he brought an outside thermometer up to see how hot it was. It STOPPED at 120 only because it couldnt go up any higher. Granted it was a black roof, but if you’ve ever walked outside in 100+ degree weather on concrete you’d feel temperatures coming close to that. Yeah it friggin burns!

    All that being said, that’s why God created front lawns/parks/swimming pools/water hoses. If you don’t have access to a sprinkler in the middle of the summer then your childhood is lacking!

  31. 0
    Adamas Draconis says:

    Wind chills in the 10’s. Alabama has the same heat issue, in some ways worse then texas because we seem to have a pipeline for humidity from the Gulf. Winter isn’t as bad, only about half of the season it’s really cold. (And I know some will call 30’s "Bracing" but when most of the year is either 60’s-70’s mid spring and mid fall or 90’s the rest of the spring and summer, 30’s-10’s is COLD!)

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  32. 0
    SS says:

    pfft, don’t tell me it’s that warm in the evening.  as long as it’s evening heat doesn’t matter.  its 110 degrees everyday. 

    try doing P.e in that heat.  plus the place i used to be from the heat index used to be 20 degrees above the temeperature.  Even a pleasent day of 90 turns into 110 degrees with the heat index.

    bad excuse.  what about winter?



  33. 0
    Abadox50 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If you live in Texas, it is. Sometimes the temperature can get up to 110 degrees down here during summer. And there are some days I have to walk both to and from work in that scorching heat.

    That said, I can’t figure out for the life of me why I’m so unfit. It must be those damn vidjama gamez!

  34. 0
    dark moogle says:

    Japans fast/instant food is indeed a better choice over stuff here in my country (Australia). I got the chance to go there for 2 weeks a couple years ago, and because I was constantly moving from city to city I was pretty much living off convience store meals and an occasional resturant/diner. Yet when I came back everyone was shocked by my complexion and lack of acne. Within a month of being in Australia though I was developing some pretty bad acne and all the benifits of my trip overseas had been negated by my regular study/fast food/sleep lifestyle.


    As for blaming video games for kids not going outside, they are being extremely closed minded if they believe that this electronic age is making kids fat and lazy. When my parents were children they were always out playing on the streets in groups. Fast forward to today and many parents wont let their kids out of the front yard in fear of a terrorist attack of pedophile in the area. Lack of things for these kids to do now withstanding, the situation is fare me grave then ‘kids play too many video games’

  35. 0
    GrimCW ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    My parents used to kick us out of the house after a short time playing games.

    even in the dead of a winter storm i recall being sent outside to "do something constructive with my time". and i live in an area with NO parks, NO recreational facilities, just empty forests, cow fields, and corn.


    as for the fat foods thing. When i stayed in japan for the Navy i ate fresh made and pre-packaged things alot, and i was fitter than i’ve ever been in my life. i came back to the U.S. feeling grand, then it wore off for some reason.

    I think it has to do with the high "sodium" content in almost EVERYTHING in the U.S. My blood pressure is sky high (and the VA is riding my tail on this one… mostly since they have to pay me for it :) ), i’m unfit as a no legged dog with a bag of chow as his best friend, and even if i look into diets my only options in the U.S. is to either A. go vegitarian, which is unhealthy alone, or B. make each individual meal myself by hand. which isn’t an option since i work construction and most often don’t even get a lunch, then by dinner i’m tired enough to fall asleep for 4 hours before waking up with little enough time to relax let alone cook.

    weekends are the only time i can afford a good diet and excercise and thats not enough.

    japan, working military i had about as much time as i do here, and no cooking facilities in our barracks. I never went to the galley (the Navy’s diet is either fat fried, or spider infested normally)  but eating easy to come by FRESH food, and not salted down salt with a hair of lettuce in it somewhere isn’t so easy in the U.S.

    even milk is loaded with salt, more than a bottle of pop for crying out loud.

    reason for all the salt? the sterilization process most of the food goes through must weaken it nicely and make it rott faster or something, cause unless its bought fresh from the farmer or butchers shop, its damned near impossible to find something not loaded with preservatives (I.E. mostly salt)

    apple juice is so fresh in japan, a guy in my command actually got a mouth full of APPLE in his can of juice! scared the hell outta him to as he spat that back out :p not to mention the juice itself was a frothy color as fresh made juice is, Orange juice was a clear orange, and so on. Not this darkened by added preserves/artificial flavors and constantly boiled over and over trash the U.S. has



  36. 0
    chadachada(123) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    "Go explore"

    "Oh, wait, make sure not to leave the neighborhood. No, honey, you can’t go in the trails in those woods. Because I said so."

  37. 0
    TextOnlySword says:

    Learning outside? What the hell can you learn outside? "Oh look, trees are green". Playing outside? Oh, that’s that thing where your parents are tired of seeing you do an activity that they didn’t have access to when they were a kid, so they send you out on the doorstep to be bored. And my favorite; "exploring". Because that’s totally applicable when for kids who live in urban settings.

    I have not problem with excursive, but it is often so far divorced from the concept of "playing outside" that they shouldn’t even be mentioned n the same breathe.


  38. 0
    King of Fiji ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Simple solution. 


    Either try to get parent’s involved in getting their kids to disconnect from their consoles or just shut up and let the fatties die of heart attacks.


    Its called weeding out the weak……

  39. 0
    Anonymous says:

    Well, thing is, you watch the News these days, and what do you see? Hurricanes, Floods, Tsunamis, Global Warming, Global Dimming, Droughts, Education system failing, Finances plummeting, Mass Murderers, Terrorists, Gangsters, Oh, and Timmy the Windsurfing Terrier.

    Who’d want to go out in that? Especially the damn Terrier.

  40. 0
    CK20XX says:

    The entire human race has been gradually moving indoors.  Children just don’t play outside anymore.  Usually with these things, there’s no one reason for the occurance.

    It seems likely that it’s happening just because humans prefer to be fat and happy; computers easily provide that.  But another reason is because we seem to be living in an age of fear and control; parents would rather keep an eye on their kids in the house than let them toddle off outdoors these days.  It’s also likely that issues like global warming are pushing everyone indoors.  I don’t know how much stock is in all the global warming conspiracy theories, but I know I used to play outside more when it wasn’t scorching hot in the summer.

  41. 0
    DarkRider says:

    This is really getting ridiculous.  Whats there to learn outside that will help you in your everday life?  The world is becoming more and more dependent on technology and science.  Learning about computers could help a kid more these days than going outside and learning about all the different types of trees!  I remember my grandad telling me that back breaking labor will get you more money than sitting in front of a computer will. 

    Then Bill Gates and Steve Jobs came along.  If these parents want their kids to go outside so bad, then they should take their games and tech and force to them to go outside instead of blaming video games.

Leave a Reply