Food apps can be dangerous to your kids’ health

No matter how old our children get, mothers have a tendency to think of them as babies. I’m no exception. I know they’re no longer babies, but… The few days that they are home, I baby them to death. I cook for them and I try to accommodate them by cooking dishes they request even if it often means preparing multiple dishes for every meal. I remind them about bath time and bed time… I know they think I’m often OA, but… It’s a nurture thing, I guess. Or, perhaps, an attempt to recapture the feeling of having young children. I loved those years when they were babies then toddlers, teaching them, playing with them… Last night, however, I read something that made me thankful that my girls are no longer that young.

Do your kids play games on mobile devices? Read on.

From The Guardian:

So-called “advergames” are sounding the loudest alarm bells. The Family and Parenting Institute recently accused junk food manufacturers of using mobile games to target children by “stealth”, citing Chewits and Lovehearts as examples of brands using advergames to push sweet goodies.

Fast food companies are also getting in on the act and partnering with developers of the most popular children’s apps. Last month Burger King launched a promotional campaign with the creators of cult game Cut the Rope, and McDonald’s has teamed up with the makers of Angry Birds to lure kids through the doors in China.

My kids are old enough so that no alarm bells need to sound off inside my head but, still… I checked my iPad. I’ve played only one game on my iPad, Draw Something — and only for a few weeks — but, goodness, my Apple account has such high scores in over two dozen games. Yes, my daughters play on my iPad. Just as they play on their own gadgets.

Food apps can be dangerous to your kids' health

Among all the (free) games that they have downloaded on my iPad, there are only two that are food related. The Oreo dunking game (you have to dunk as many Oreos into a glass of milk as you can) and that burger game (like you’re an attendant in a fast food joint and you gave to prepare as many burgers as you can). I know that Alex has at least two restaurant games on her iPod Touch.

But it’s not like they crave for Oreos and burgers. We buy Oreos, oh, like twice a year. And burgers? Sam’s vegetarian. Alex will take fries over burgers any day. Not that fries are healthier than burgers but you get the point — the food apps don’t lead to craving.

But, then, my girls are 20 and 19, respectively. For younger children, the effect might not be the same. The fact that fast food companies are now utilizing food apps to sell their products means that food apps are an effective advertising medium. It’s sneaky. It’s subliminal. And most probably very effective. And the target market — young children.

Worrisome? If you have young kids, maybe, it’s time to check what food apps they’re playing.