The Food Police invade Illinois school, tattle on kid's lunch habits
byJan 14th 2009 5:30PM
One Illinois school system has taken an unusual step to fight childhood obesity; requiring kids to use their fingerprints to pay for their school lunch choices. The technology, supplied by Nutrikids, can provide interested parents with a detailed record of the dining habits of their children. No more Cheesedoodles for you, Tubby!
The system has other advantages for the school. The kids prepay for lunch, so the school has a nice pool of cash. It cuts down on the need for staff and reduces shrinkage. When the child's account gets light, an email is automatically sent to parents reminding them to deposit more lunch money.
Parents can also choose to receive emails listing their children's lunch choices, so they can direct them to better selections. Sound OK, right?
Let's look at it in a different way, though. Suppose your children could get a full listing of your lunch choices- would they show more wisdom of choice? Or are you sneaking those cheesy fries and pasta Alfredo?
Kids are perceptive enough to learn from the example set by others, rather than the ideals presented in a lecture. If you'd be embarrassed to have kids see your lunch choices, why would your kids feel any differently? Tech like this doesn't change behavior; it simply inspires creative workarounds. The kid whose parents don't care enough to sign up for the program will be sitting pretty, with a plateful of the unhealthy foods that other kids will be eager to swap for.
So the child's eating behavior at school won't change his habitsso long as he comes home to a household full of potato chips, pizza and Oreos. Perhaps you need a fingerprint reader for your fridge, too.