Early on in parenthood, I thought I’d somehow magically received the perfect child. He was no picky eater, rather quite the opposite. He was into steak, broccoli, watermelon, pretty much anything we put in front of him.
…and then that phase ended.
Nowadays, we spend dinnertimes bargaining, pleading, and joyfully cheering when even a single bite makes it down the hatch. Contrast that with the time he spends in front of a mobile device, wholly sucked in and willing to do anything to progress the game or storyline.
That’s where new innovations like Yumit come in. Yumit is an interactive dinner tray that reinforces healthy eating habits by converting actual bites into virtual energy. Whether this actually has long term effects on kids’ experience and interaction with food remains to be seen. But more and more, the lines are being blurred between reality and the virtual world, which isn’t always a bad thing.
After all, people are often much more engaged when cleaning a virtual room through a game than cleaning their actual room. Why? Because we all crave feedback for our actions, and online worlds often provide that instantaneous feedback to let us know the path toward a desired behavior.
As for parenting, I’m on the fence as to whether I’ll try something like Yumit. While it may instantly boost veggie consumption, I’m curious about the lasting effects. But hey, I guess even one broccoli happily ingested is a win.