Can Kids Stay Healthy in Front of a Computer? DoCrew.com says Yes

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DoCrew.com is a new website designed for kids ages 3-8 that has kids playing games in a unique way: using their entire bodies as controllers.

Child interacts with a "Draggin'Fly" on Docrew.com

focus on fun in children's exercise

The games are a blend of traditional cartoons and Augmented Reality and they call on the viewers to jump up and down, wave their hands, and play with the characters. The catch? Unlike traditional television programming, the show can’t go on unless children actively participate. All these motions add up to calories, and the just-launched site already has kids jumping and running all over the world.

The epidemic of childhood obesity is a real one, and the numbers are staggering. The rate of childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years to the point where almost 20% of children aged 6 to 11 years are considered obese by the Centers for Disease Control. The creators of the Do Crew wanted to make a new type of game that focused on getting kids off the couch as they played with their favorite characters. Do Crew games require physical exertion, like the Wii, but don’t require expensive consoles and the purchase of games. As the Do Crew continues to grow, they’ll be able to bring the excitement and activity of the Wii Fit and Dance Dance Revolution into every living space with a computer.

Do Crew focuses on the fun, and makes exercise fun for kids. “It’s amazing to watch a four-year old break into a sweat in front of a computer, jumping up and down and laughing,” says Chas Mastin, CTO of Whistlebox. You certainly won’t find that type of reaction to most television programs.

The Do Crew makes all this magic happen with ordinary computers and webcams. The technique of mixing one’s image with games and videos is called Augmented Reality (AR), and DoCrew.com uses AR to place kids into episodes of a cartoon about colorful Beavers and their problems. The child becomes part of the show: swimming underwater, jumping for exploding fireworks, and dancing with the animated characters. Parents are loving it, saying “If you don’t enjoy it, you’ve lost track of your inner child.”

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Chris Muscarella

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