Technology Does Not Equal Obesity
Throughout the years technology has become more and more prominent in people’s everyday lives. People are extremely reliant on technology and love the benefits so much that we install it in every aspect of our lives including our homes and our cars. However, we often turn on technology when something goes wrong with our children and blame it for everything. Just think when kids don’t sleep, have no social skills and exhibit signs of depression we instantly blame technology. This same logic is used when it comes to our children being obese. While the idea of technology being the cause of sedentary lifestyles in children sounds plausible technology is actually not to blame when it comes to childhood obesity. In fact, technology can actually be one of the reasons we are able to combat the growing rate of obesity in our children. A new form of gaming called exergaming has actually been able to help children get more physically active by combatting some of the main causes of their lack of physical activity.
One big reason kids do not get enough physical activity is because they have low confidence due to having a lack of athleticism. There are many children out there who are naturally athletic or have been substantially trained in a sport whereas there are many other children who do not fall into this category. Clumsiness is a natural deterrent from physical activity because it’s impossible for clumsy kids to gain the confidence they need to be able to perform well in physical activities. Since these kids are less likely to actively participate in their physical education classes then these children are missing out on what could be their only form of structured physical activity they get. However, one thing that can easily fix this problem is implementing exergaming into physical education. Exergaming is something that every kid can participate in confidently because you do not have to be particularly athletic to do well in these games. It is said in an article by Catherine D. Ennis that, “Exergames typically are situationally interesting and motivational both to skilled and unskilled students.” Exergames incorporate simple movements such as moving your arms and legs and jumping up and down. These simple movements allow students who are clumsier to feel more comfortable and be at an equal playing field with their more athletic counterparts.
Another reason why many kids are lacking physical activity is very surprising and rarely thought about. Kids from underserved communities typically have less opportunities to participate in physical activities than those kids who grew up in more affluent communities. Affluent communities have plenty of after school organized activities such as little leagues, dance classes and more that are meant to get kids active and train them in that particular activity. However underserved communities do not have the money to support programs like this and it naturally puts the children in these communities at a disadvantage. This also causes a problem when it comes to physical education classes because those children who did not have access to sports programs will be less likely to succeed when playing these games with kids who have participated in afterschool sports programs. A study found in the Journal of Sport and Health Science found that, “Schools reach nearly 95% of children in the USA and are important venues to promote weekday PA participation.” Since physical education is so important for our children it is important to play games that every child will be able to be confident playing and successful at. Integrating exergaming into schools will help allow kids of all skill level regardless of whether or not they had the money to participate in sports programs to be put on an even playing field and find their physical education classes to be more enjoyable.
In addition to lack of opportunities many kids also lack physical activity simply because of where their home is located. Not every child is able to live in a home with a big backyard that they can run around and play in after school. For some the only safe place that they can play with children their own age is at the school playground. While being able to play outside for recess every day substantially increases their physical activity, they unfortunately cannot always have outdoor recess due to weather. In order to remedy this, exergaming can be used when recess is forced to move indoors since it does not take up much space yet still allows the kids to get their energy out and participate in physical activity.
So while it is easy to blame technology for why our children are becoming increasingly more obese the facts point to technology being one of the things we can use to combat obesity. One of the most important parts of exergaming is that it has some of the same benefits as the more conventional forms of physical activity including however it has more cognitive benefits as well. Exergaming requires kids to solve problems while being physically active to complete the game. In addition, an article called “Exergaming and physical education: A qualitative examination from the teachers’ perspectives” interviewed P.E. teachers who utilized exergaming in their classrooms. These teachers said, “It was really highly motivating for them; they were really into exergaming…the engagement for all of them was almost equal, it didn’t matter what station they were at, they were all excited.” They found that the exergames were clearly more motivating and enjoyable to the students than the typical games they played in physical education. When you really think about how beneficial it can be, incorporating an exergaming program into a physical education class is the best decision.
Exergaming can solve all the reasons why kids are not able to be as physically active as they should be. It helps kids become more confident when doing physical activities since exergaming requires kids to do basic movements that everyone can do without having to be athletic. It can easily be set up and used at a school in order to give kids somewhere safe to go and be active in inclement weather. In addition, schools can take it a step further and start after school exergaming programs which further gives kids the opportunity to be physically active. Clearly technology cannot be the first thing we blame when our kids are found to be obese. Instead, you have to carefully consider the other less thought about factors. In addition, we need to realize that when it comes to childhood obesity technology is not our enemy, instead it can be our children’s savior.
Ennis, C. D. (2013, July 1). Implications of exergaming for the physical education curriculum in the 21st Century. Journal of Sport and Health Science. Retrieved March 25, 2023
Gao, Z., Pope, Z., Eun Lee, J., Stodden, D., Roncesvalles, N., Pasco, D., Huang, C. C., & Feng, D. (2016, November 24). Impact of exergaming on young children’s School Day Energy expenditure and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity levels. Journal of Sport and Health Science. Retrieved March 7, 2023
Sheehan, D. P., Katz, L., & Kooiman, B. J. (2015). Exergaming and physical education: A qualitative examination from the teachers’ perspectives . Journal of Case Studies in Education, 4, 1–14. Retrieved March 7, 2023
For feedback I want to know if this is a good causal argument and if there is anything I should do to improve it. I also want to make sure my citations have been done correctly.
On my first breeze-through I notice that you’re carefully including Causal language into the first sentences of your paragraphs, each designed to guide the reader toward a REASON for, or a CAUSE of childhood obesity. So, congratulations on that!
1. While this idea sounds like it could be plausible, technology is actually NOT necessarily THE CAUSE FOR THE OBESITY we see in American children.
2. One big kids do not get enough physical activity is BECAUSE they have low confidence and self-esteem.
3. Another REASON why some kids lack physical activity IS very surprising and rarely thought about however kids from underserved communities typically have less opportunities for physical activity.
4. In addition to lack of opportunities many kids also lack physical activity simply BECAUSE OF where their home is located.
5. So, while technology is typically the go to when finding something to blame pertaining to why our children are becoming obese it is clear that there are actually MANY other FACTORS that CAN BE BLAMED.
6. Mostly needless boilerplate, but we can find better uses for these 150 words or so.
This “is a good causal argument” if, as you have done, it guides readers through a series of causes for a situation, reasons it has developed, things that aren’t responsible for its existence, ways it could be improved, reasons we resist solving an obvious problem—in other words, Causal Stuff. You appear to be following that good pattern.
I’ll leave this in Feedback Please until I can help out further. Please react before I return, to motivate me. Thanks!
Thank you for confirming that I am on the right track! I look forward to more feedback!
P1. Your Intro warms up very slowly, Sunflower. I maintain today’s readers won’t give you more than a sentence or two to get to the point.
You spend 5 lines saying we’re surrounded by technology, which we all know, but without focusing on whether you find that comforting or dangerous.
Throughout the years technology has become more and more prominent in people’s everyday lives. Not only do we have it surrounding us in our homes and in our schools, but we also carry it around on us everywhere we go in the form of a smartphone. Most of us literally cannot live without our pieces of technology and praise them for being able to have everything we ever wanted at our fingertips.
So far, readers don’t know your position on anything. Why should they continue?
However, all of that love we have for technology goes right out the window as soon as our children become obese. Technology is instantly what is blamed for the sedentary lifestyle many children in the United States currently have.
Now readers know that SOMEBODY, but maybe not you, thinks that technology is to blame for our pudgy couch-potato kids.
While this idea sounds like it could be plausible, technology is actually not necessarily the cause for the obesity we see in American children due to lack of physical activity.
Now without clearly endorsing a position, you cast doubt on the “tech leads to slovenliness” theory
In fact, technology can actually be one of the reasons we are able to combat the growing rate of obesity in our children.
While you haven’t yet suggested HOW technology is supposedly softening out kids, you float a new theory that it might combat the fat.
A new form of gaming called exergaming has actually been able to help children get more physically active by combatting some of the main causes of their lack of physical activity.
And finally you resolve the mystery by suggesting kids could benefit from a technology that promotes exercise.
For my money, instead of mostly empty language about our immersion in the metaverse, you should immediately “call out” the usual cranks who like to blame social media or our ever-present devices for EVERYTHING that happens to kids.
1. Why don’t they sleep? Technology
2. Why are their attention spans so short? Technology
3. Why don’t they have any social skills? Technology
4. Why don’t they exercise? Technology
5. Why are they so anxious and depressed? Technology
The more such examples you can point to, the stronger your claim that “devices are just being scapegoated again.”
Self-esteem matters, but it’s not what interferes with physical activity, Sunflower. The clumsiness is the cause. The clumsiness leads to poor performance, and when the failure to hit the ball, or score, or even stay upright is played out in public, that leads to embarrassment and shame. You don’t really WANT a kid who can’t handle a bat to get up to the plate with a LOT OF CONFIDENCE.
What you need for this argument to succeed is some evidence that exergames are more forgiving of clumsy kids without a lot of athleticism. You haven’t made that case. Catherine Ennis’s quotation does not make that case. So, until we know the GAMES are different, reward different behaviors than traditional PE games do, we won’t buy that the exergames will boost the confidence of anyone. How do they work?
In your third paragraph, you shift the focus without noticing.
Your first “reason kids don’t get enough exercise” was actually: THEY DON’T WANT TO. Your explanation was that they don’t perform well, suffer shame, and disdain further displays of their ineptitude. You blamed poor self-esteem.
Your new reason is that they CAN’T AFFORD IT.
I thought your explanation was that underserved kids don’t have the BACKGROUND of after-school sports, leagues, lessons TO PERFORM WELL IN SCHOLASTIC PHYS ED. That’s how it sounds until: therefore they have less structured physical activity time.
So you’re really just saying underserved kids get just one opportunity for structured physical activity, and that’s at school.
I don’t see how that makes exergaming more advantageous than dodgeball.
Is it possible you’re saying: “When Phys Ed just reflects activities that well-off students already excel at, underserved students are competitively disadvantaged in gym class activities”?
Are you suggesting that exergaming is a way to balance the scales? Is it something the poor kids can beat the rich kids at?
Thank you for showing me this! I definitely was trying to say “When Phys Ed just reflects activities that well-off students already excel at, underserved students are competitively disadvantaged in gym class activities”. I will try and make that more clear.
Instead of a mini-summary of the Other Reasons kids are soft, You really need to actively promote the REASON exergaming will reach those kids that traditional PE classes NEGLECT.
Exergaming has some of the exact same benefits as normal physical activity does.
“the same benefits” would make it similar to traditional activities, but you’ve already criticized them as TOO EXCLUSIVE.
In fact, a study done by Minghui Quan, Zachary Pope, and Zan Gao, found that students who participated in exergaming showed “… improvements in physiological and cognitive outcomes, such as body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, bone health, cognition, and academic achievement”
Those are good outcomes, but not better than, maybe not as good as, physiological and cognitive outcomes that result from team sports and track events, right? You need a source that says: “These games engage the historically unengaged.”
In addition it was also found that exergaming is more motivating to children and also more enjoyable than the typically games played in physical education.
“It was found”? We’ll want something more concrete than that.
What you say is surely true, Sunflower, but very wordy.
You might be able to replace it with a single sentence, but mine would come to a different conclusion:
We still don’t know what FEATURES AND CHARACTERISTICS of Exergaming make it more accessible to SOME STUDENTS.
Does it highlight skills that athletic students don’t have?
Does it require a type of dexterity not available to athletes?
Is it somehow less likely to show up exergamers for poor performance?
Would it be available to all students, or are you suggesting a social class like “remedial athletics”?
My questions will sound foolish to someone who is familiar with your topic, perhaps, but that’s never the reader’s fault. Writers have to provide the background readers need to follow the argument. We don’t know enough about Exergaming to agree with you.
Thank you for the wonderful feedback! I hope I was able to substantially improve this piece and I would like a regrade please!
Nice improvements, Sunflower! Sheehan is a good source, and you’ve made better use of the material you already had.