Oh science! Why are you always trying to ruin all over our fun and trick us and our children into doing boring shit that’s good for us when in reality, all any of us want to do is eat candy and play games all day? Science, you are a cruel, cruel mistress and even though you are super great in being all science-y in that you discover cures for diseases you are not so great when it comes time to trick our children into eating healthy. Some science-y researches in the Netherlands put on their incredibly official looking lab coats (and possibly some wooden shoes) and attempted to discover if kids would eat more fruit after playing a fruity-themed video game. Spoiler alert! NO. From Fox News:
Healthy food advertising in the form of online games doesn’t make kids crave more wholesome snacks, according to a new study from the Netherlands.
Researchers expected children to choose to eat fruit after playing games promoting fruit, given that previous research has shown so-called “advergames” to be effective marketing tools. In fact, kids in the experiment did eat more snacks after playing, but no more fruit than their peers.
“I think that the game elicits hunger, and children like (high calorie) snacks more than fruit snacks, so they chose the (high calorie) snacks,” said the study’s lead author Frans Folkvord.
Based on his group’s results, Folkvord added, parents should be cautious about the effect of such online games, even if they think they are there to promote healthy eating.
“Children are not aware of the intentions of the marketers,” said Folkvord, a graduate student at the University of Amsterdam. “Parents have to teach their children to be skeptical about those games.”
I have said I am not a scientist many times on Mommyish before, in the sense that I do not own a lab coat. BUT I am an expert in video games and kids and what kids like to eat while playing video games and it is not papaya. Sometimes they will enjoy some grapes. But no video game is going to want to make a kid eat healthier. The fine folks at the institute of Sour Patch kids recently created a video game, excuse me, an “Advergame!” featuring the Sour Patch candy and I think this was highly effective advergaming because it really made me want to eat some Sour Patch Kids.
Maybe in the future scientists will discover how they can create some advergames that will encourage kids to eat healthier snacks, but in the meantime, all most video games promote is talking parents into ordering pizza. But don’t hate the game for that, hate the player who may or may not be too into beating her kids at Rayman Raving Rabbids to tear herself away to make dinner.