The Design of Software (CLOSED)

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Hope to Design a software for Bringing Kids Back to Nature!

It is reported by a radio channel that currently most American kids tend to be INDOOR kids. They are fond of sitting in front of the computer for games, chats, news or for other purpose. Such might be the real situation for American kids, and it will probably be true of the kids in all other countries in the near future. No matter what kind of activities they use the computer for, if they throw themselves into such a virtual world too long a day, they will certainly ignore the beauty of the nature, and moreover it is not good for their physical health, either. As a software developer, I personally think that our software developer should help. Now I am thinking about a new software design which solely aims to present great nature scenery to bring kids back to nature. But do you think it is effective?
Linda Godsw Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
The best design that I see is the one I tell everybody I know: don't buy computers for your children. If you've bought one, unplug it and trash it. Send you children out to play and to interact with other kids, to develop interpersonal skills. Wait till the are at least twelve to teach them hot to use a computer.

When a kid wants to play with you don't send him to the computer because you are tired or want to watch TV.

But first of all teach your children to watch out for the cars and to cross the roads.

This is what I'm telling them.
Emanuel Haisiuc Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
Off hand, I can see it may backfire. Kids spend even more time in front of the computer because your scenes look so much better than what they're likely to find outside their front door. "Don't you want to go outside and look at real nature?" "I _am_ looking at real nature."

Maybe a better approach might be using technology as part of an outdoor activity, something like orienteering or geocaching. Could be something as simple as a web site providing localized maps with tasks to check off.
Michael Zuschlag Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
It's not a problem to be solved by software, it's a problem to be solved by parents investing in their child's future and getting them involved in alternative activities such as sports, camping, backpacking, kayaking, etc.
Aspiring College Developer
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
The irony in the OP is too much to bear....

If you are serious and this post isn't just for the giggle factor, my answer is:  Anyone serious about getting their kids back to nature would never buy your product.  Anyone who didn't care would never buy your product.

Then again, people waste their money on ridiculous stuff everyday, so I could very well be wrong.
fair to middlin
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
Maybe just a window that pops up every so often and says "GO OUTDOORS"
Stan James Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
Develop robotic backhoes to locate and cut the cable tv and fiber optic lines, or EMR blasts to have the same effect. Pursued on a large enough scale this will put you in Guantanamo Bay, but you'll be able to reflect on all the good you've done for the youth of America.

Alternatively, develop the same to locate and cut enemy communications. Every sufficiently elaborate defense system is allowed a debugging period for crashing, blowing up outhouses, etc. etc. With the right friends on the appropriations committees, you could string this out for quite a while as you introduce kids nationwide to the test pattern.

Hope this helps.
George Jansen Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
I did this several years ago.  Ditched the TV, and only let the kids play on the computer a couple of hours per week.

The rest of the time, they go outside.  Give them some plastic jars (big ones) to collect bugs, frogs, snakes, etc, and a swingset and sandbox.

Pretty simple... no software needed.
Eric D. Burdo Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
Write software that is not engaging, is boring to use, uses outdated graphics, and hopefully that will encourage children to get off the computer and get outside.

My son received a Wii from his grandparents for his birthday.  I have to put time restrictions, it is quite alot of fun, and since it's summer vacation I don't mind if he plays an hour a day. However, if I don't monitor him, hours and hours can go by with him hooked on the thing.

It is one of my enemies: internet, tv, ipods, IPODS! Heck, I send him to go out, he gets hit cap, shoes on, I think he's gone out and then find him spending 45 minutes loading songs onto his mp3 player so he can listen to them on his bike!! GET OUT OF THE HOUSE NOW!!!

Technology is a lot of fun, but kids do not understand the importance of balance.. plus the fact that if they get any kind of well paying job they probably have a future of being indoors looming ahead of them...

Maybe write a persistent world software where the kids who stay indoors playing on the computer get fat, unhealthy while the kids outside stay fit and healthy. J/K - I think the intention is good, and I apologize if my sarcasm offends you, but this is something I fight with daily with my kids because I know if I relent, the computer games will win!
I still code in Delphi
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
To "...bring kids back to nature..." you *take them out into it*, you don't park them in front of a computer. 

There's REAL LIVE NATURE within reach of just about everyone.  They can get out and see, smell and touch it with the only electrons around being attached to the atoms that make up the nature.

Part of the problem (and I see this as a Boy Scout leader) is that many kids are already too attached to electronics to be able to enjoy life without them.  Parking their collective butts in front of computers to get them "back to nature" is completely bass-ackwards.
a former big-fiver Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
"Write software that is not engaging, is boring to use, uses outdated graphics..."

Tens of thousands of us get paid to do that in a corporate environment - let the kids get their own software! ;-)
John Topley Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
Parents don't allow their children outside. Part of it is that they live in developments where there are no lawns to play in. Part of it is that those lawns are dosed with toxic chemicals to stay green. Part of it is fear of their children getting run over by speed racers. Part of it is fear of their children getting molested/kidnapped.

You can't "write software" to introduce kids to the outside world because kids aren't allowed outside without supervision.

This cultural change isn't one that *can* be cured, except by blowing up TVs everywhere, destroying all the suburbs, and digging up fiber optic cables everywhere. No one has that much explosives.

http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html
http://www.paulgraham.com/nerds.html
Peter Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
+1 to Peter.

There are many urban communities that have very little in the way of nature readily available. There may be a park on the corner with a few picnic benches and a playground, but it's a very far cry from a quiet little hamlet surrounded by trees and creeks.

Unfortunately, simpy showing kids pictures of those quiet hamlets isn't going to do a thing for them. They'll think it's cool and pretty, then get bored and eventually wander off and do something else.

Ironically, the best solution really is to start an mISV writing some other kind of software, become successful enough to take on employees, and persuade people to come work for you in one of those quiet and peaceful hamlets. In other words, give the parents the kind of financial stability they need to move someplace where the kids can experience nature.
TheDavid
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
My impression is that Peter is right and Eric and Emanuel are exceptions to modern trends in the US today. Because of new norms for “safety” and “security,” children are not simply sent out to play anymore like I was as a child. Instead, being out of the house (or at least out of the backyard) means some sort of organized activity with adult supervision.

Furthermore, even if you send a kid out to play, there’s no one to play _with_. American families have gotten smaller, making fewer children per square mile. This diminishes the chances that there’s another child that the kid actually likes who is in walking distance. I belive that schools have gotten bigger, each serving a larger geographic region, so the odds are greater that a kid’s friends are relatively far away. With that context, the importance of technologies like internet chat to children becomes clearer.

These are cultural changes, but I wouldn’t say that means you can’t mitigate the social problems with the right design of technology. Technology is part of society too. You do, however, have to design with awareness of the culture –that’s where user research comes in.

For example, if my impressions are correct, the outdoor activity stimulated by your software should allow for parental inclusion or at least adult monitoring. You may also look at ways to remotely integrate friends in the activity. I hear lots of kids these days have these newfangled cell phones and IM thingies. Maybe they can play a part.
Michael Zuschlag Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
Yeah, I guess I am an exception.

We recently bought a house out in the "country".  About 15 minutes to work, but we are on a relatively slow-traffic road, and we have 1.6 acres (most of it grass) for the kids to play in .  I can send them outside and watch out the window with no worries about them wandering off, or getting kidnapped, etc.

But that is why I moved out of the city.  So I could make the kids play outside safely... and not have to escort them to the public park and back.
Eric D. Burdo Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
First, I appreciate the intent of the OP.  I also agree that it's going to be pretty tricky to incite more outdoor behavior by writing a compelling web app.

It may make more sense to engage the parents, and give them things to do with kids outdoors.  Subscribe to this site's feed and see if this gives you any ideas:

http://blog.wired.com/geekdad/
D. Lambert Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

Writing software to get kids off of software!  This is about as intelligent as trying to quit cigarettes by firing up nothing but Maccanudoes.
Jason Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
>> The best design that I see is the one I tell everybody I know: don't buy computers for your children. If you've bought one, unplug it and trash it.

Great idea if you want to put your kids at an early disadvantage for school and their future career. 

>> When a kid wants to play with you don't send him to the computer because you are tired or want to watch TV.

Now we're getting somewhere.  Kids like the outdoors.  They like playing catch, riding bikes, going on hikes, boating, rock climbing, etc..  The problem is that they usually can't do these things by themselves.  Maybe parents should try actually doing some of these activities with their kids rather than plopping the kids in front of a computer so you can plop your fat ass in front of a TV.
SomeBody Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
Everything is better with pictures!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=462091&in_page_id=1770

Summary:  A plot of the "roaming range" for a child and his mother, grandfather, and great grandfather.

In just 4 generations the range went from 6 miles to 300 yards.

That matches what I've seen just driving around.  You hardly see kids playing outside anymore.
bob, from accounting Send private email
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
Don't some of those MMORPG's qualify as virtual outdoors? Your "character" wanders around forests, rivers and lakes anyway.
Bob
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
 
>>Maybe parents should try actually doing some of these activities with their kids rather than plopping the kids in front of a computer so you can plop your fat ass in front of a TV.

Well said!
a former big-fiver Send private email
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
 
 
Aspiring College Developer: <<It's not a problem to be solved by software, it's a problem to be solved by parents investing in their child's future and getting them involved in alternative activities such as sports, camping, backpacking, kayaking, etc.>>

Exactly!!
LGC Send private email
Thursday, July 26, 2007
 
 
Can't software facilitate bringing kids out and make 'em do stuff?


For ex: This is a print media example but I think it conveys my point.

I came across a new magazine called Wondertime, that provides interesting things you can do with your kids to make your time spent engaging, entertaining and fun. I draw inspiration from it and use it.

In other words, software can guide, prod, may be track, encourage, reward doing outdoor activities.
Hari Send private email
Monday, August 20, 2007
 
 

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