The creation of Satan

It would seem that my role in life was to be a parent.  Many of us search for what we are meant to do, or were destined to be, for me, I was meant to be a dad.  Being a parent is one of the best things you can do with your life and also one of the hardest things.  You can get so much joy from the experience but you can also go through some of the most worrying and fraught times of your life.  Priorities shift, your life changes in so many ways but throughout the whole experience you wouldn’t change a thing about it, at all.  My daughter is now nearly eight and each one of those years has been a wonderful time for me, and I hope her.  I have encouraged her to be herself but at the same time take a lot from me too, and yes , I have encouraged her to play games.  As a parent you have to censure what your kids are playing so that they aren’t exposed to extreme violence, horror or swearing, a relatively easy task, or so I thought.

Are they fat?

Just last week I was taking my wee girl and her two friends to Brownies of a Tuesday evening.  High School Musical tunes were emitting from the speakers and girly banter was flying about, I did my best to be the jokey, funny dad, no worries.  Then I heard something that stopped me in my tracks and made me question what games are doing to our kids.  As we drove down the road one of the friends said, in a happy manner,

” I was five pounds too heavy but now I’m the ideal weight.”

“Well I’ve always been the ideal weight,” came a response.

“Yeah me too,” said my daughter.

In the first instance I imagined that the girls were just having a wee joke but then the reality hit, the flat bit of plastic known as Wii Fit had made a seven year old girl think that she was fat/ overweight.  To look at the girl you wouldn’t say anything of the kind, but because the big letters on the telly had told her this, this was what she thought.  I’ve no doubt that her parents assured her at the time that this wasn’t the case but it obviously had stuck in her mind, to the extent that she felt she had to lose weight.

Fat Bastard

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m all for encouraging children to keep fit and active and eat healthy but when it is to the detriment of their thoughts about how others perceive them, then that makes me angry.  When you are eight years old you don’t need to be told you are five pounds too heavy, or that your clothes are not fashionable, you just want to play and have fun or at least that is what I wanted to do.  As parents we have a duty to our children to keep them from harm in all its many guises and I must confess I never thought that it would include Wii Fit but here we are.  Some of you may be reading this thinking that I’ve gone all Daily Mail but I heard all this first hand, I have a daughter who should see games as fun not a lifestyle choice.  Small girls, I think, especially need to be protected from this kind of conditioning, maybe Nintendo could patch this game to make allowances for this.  Please think very carefully about this before you comment it is not as clear cut as you may think.

coffee anyone

Some may now call me a hypocrite but this is an example of how games can be a source of laughs too.  On Friday night while trying to beat Seth in Street Fighter 4 my daughter commented that Seth had the Fair Trade logo in his stomach, which it does look like.  The next day we were looking at the notice board in a local shop and I saw a sign advertising a fair trade event in a village hall.  Without a hint of irony or sarcasm my wee girl turned to me and said,

“Do you think Seth will be there?”

We laughed.


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6 responses to “The creation of Satan”

  1. Lorna avatar
    Lorna

    That’s a fantastic post, Martin, and also a worrying one. I had never considered that particuar danger with Wii Fit, but you are quite right…as adults (and even then, some of us struggle) we can shrug off the words and acknowledge the flaws with BMI, not let it affect us etc, but for impressionable youngsters who are at the mercy of society’s pressures and views of weight/fashion it could be quite harmful.

    Thank you for an insightful and thought provoking read…

  2. John.B avatar

    Great post. My first instinct is to strictly say as a parent it’s your call to control what your wee girl plays but as you said Wii Fit seems innocuous enough and if it were me I would have assumed it was safe as well. I guess it shouldn’t surprise us as we all know how influential games can be on our thoughts, hell after Crackdown we all looked about at where agility orbs would be in real life so why shouldn’t Wii Fit get kids thinking about their weight. Perhaps Wii Fit for kids with a different style and wording would be an idea?

    Got me thinking this post Martin, great work 🙂

  3. Michael avatar

    What they said. No thinking you’re being a bit Daily Mail or hypocritical!

    Actually a quite disturbing thought, that Wii Fit effect.

  4. Laura avatar
    Laura

    As a parent of an eight year old girl I know exactly how upsetting it is to hear a child so young complain she’s fat or ugly.
    With mine I’m sure she’s not too serious, she doesn’t say it often and I tell her she’s beautiful every day.
    Still, they get ideas in their heads sometimes that are very hard to shift.

    Luckily we have no evil Wii Fit in my house 😉

  5. Lordstar avatar
    Lordstar

    your daught sounds helarious. I can only hope than when i have kids I can converse with them on the same level you two do.

  6. Darach avatar
    Darach

    I would just like to add my voice to the chorus of applause.
    Beautiful job.

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