News for Youse: Canadian kids are couch potatoes, next phase of evolution complete
A new study has found that Canadian children are spending way too much time glued to a screen. The Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth found that 46 percent of six-to-11-year-olds spend less than three hours per week playing, while the average Grade 6 to 12 student spends seven hours and 48 minutes per day in front of a screen.
Adults aren't really doing any better; only 15 percent manage to do something active for the recommended minimum of 150 minutes a week. Although if you crunch the numbers, that works out to 21 minutes of sex per day, which ain't too shabby.
But where the report card sees a general failing of society, we see the next step in the natural evolutionary cycle. We've spent decades breeding ingenuity, athleticism, and drive out of our children and society has finally birthed the perfect consumer, addicted to sugar and reality television and smartphones from the moment of conception. This was the master plan, folks. WALL-E and Idiocracy were not charming Hollywood offerings designed to entertain the slovenly populace for a couple of hours. They were giving you a glimpse of an all-too-near future.
Need more proof that the future is now? In the U.S., networks of listening devices set up to monitor areas for gunshots have—gasp, shock—been used to illegally spy on people. ShotSpotter is a gunshot detection system that has workers listening in 24/7 in over 70 American cities, and while the system correctly identifies gunfire almost 100 percent of the time, it also picks up other sounds in the area, like routine traffic noise, private conversations, and heated arguments, the recordings of which can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Some decriers liken the system to an illegal, round-the-clock wiretap, but we see it as a warm hug—for safety!—from the government and law-enforcement agencies. Imagine how much safer Vancouver would be if in addition to all the CCTV cameras pointed at its citizens, the VPD and city hall could hear what we were doing 100 percent of the time? Why should we get to know and trust the people around us when the government could just be listening in, ensuring that we don't harm ourselves? After all, none of us seem to be building up our cardiovascular endurance or engaging in more than 150 minutes of strength training a week. We can't possibly take care of ourselves in case of danger. C'mon, nanny state! Protect ourselves from ourselves!
No number of listening devices could protect us from face-eating cannibals, however, so further technological advances will need to be made. Hmm, is there any way to stop a crime before it's been committed? Note to self: watch Minority Report again for more clues to the future.
You know what else has been co-opted? Being charitable. According to a report by the National Post, "conspicuous giving"—i.e. only giving of your time and money if someone's watching you—is a fast-rising trend among the average citizen. This is good news for charities of all kinds, awesome news for celebrities (who have all the money and a pathological need for validation in any form), and fantastic news for all of those people who insist on donating money to hungry children or tsunami disaster relief in our name instead of buying us proper birthday presents.
The future: where everyone's watching everyone else and no one can think for themselves. It's got a nice ring to it.
Follow the resigned-to-domestication Miranda Nelson on Twitter.