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A View from Erika Jonietz

Video Game to Fight Hunger?

The United Nations’ World Food Program has created a video game called Food Force to help educate kids about hunger and the aid agency’s work. Billed as a cross between Tomb Raider and a lecture from the World Food Program,…

  • August 17, 2004

The United Nations’ World Food Program has created a video game called Food Force to help educate kids about hunger and the aid agency’s work. Billed as a cross between Tomb Raider and a lecture from the World Food Program, the game is targeted to children between 8 and 13 years old, according to BBC News.

The game is due to be released later this year for the PC and Mac, and will be available in the U.S. as a free CD or download from the Internet. It starts with a short video that explains a crisis in an imaginary country due to drought and civil war. Players then complete a series of missions such as dropping food parcels from the air or using food aid to rebuild the country’s economy.

While the goal is admirable, I have to wonder about how helpful it is to target this sort of information to kids as young as 8. This is a growing trend among aid and conservation groups, with A-B-C books on endangered species and elementary school pamphlets on rainforest destruction. Young children should be encouraged to do basic things such as recycle or bring canned food to a food pantry. But it’s questionable how much information they can–or should–absorb on the depth of the world’s problems and their own (future) responsibility for solving them.

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