These days, fast food restaurants are taking a lot of flack. They're being blamed for childhood obesity. But is it only Ronald's fault? Maybe Steve Jobs, the deceased Apple visionary, should share some blame.
Last year, my kids' grammar school decided — after a relentless high pressure sales job from the ACE Team (Apple Consultants for Education) — that every student MUST have his or her own iPad. Somehow by learning on an iPad, our kids would be "more engaged" "smarter," "better."
How was the Steve Jobs' iPad edu-fad working at other schools? Larry Cuban, an education professor at Stamford said of iPads: "There is very little evidence that kids learn more, faster or better by using these machines," and "the novelty wears off and then you get into the hard core issues of teaching and learning."
Did my kids really need a $600 tablet? The school seemed to think so. And without the consent of parents, suddenly iPads were mandatory. Now, a year into this "mandate" it seems other parents - those who did not drink the cider-flavored Kool-Aid — are less than thrilled with their kids technocations. A few mothers complained that their children gained up to 10 pounds this year while grades plummeted. Seems these kids didn't want to get off their butts to go outside and play ball. They sit around, heads bowed, studying their iPads. Trouble is, they're studying Angry Birds—not algebra.
When I was a kid, TV created couch potatoes. Now, with tablets and other devices, kids have TV to go. Any squattable surface will do. All the world's a couch.
Lots of companies make tablets, smart phones, and other digital gadgets. But only the Apple corporation has made a concerted effort to market to kids. And now, we have the most sedentary generation in history. Smart phones and tablets just don't lend themselves to being operated while on a pogo stick, or playing tag, or baseball or jumping rope.
Fast food was around decades before the children's obesity problem. An occasional Big Mac isn't going to turn an active kid into material for The Biggest Loser. But any human being, of any age, even with a healthy diet— who does not move — will become fat.
So while Ronald and Jack and other fast food characters are being vilified, they are only part of the problem. And this Apple a day might keep not the doctor away.