Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ball and Chain for Kids

This is not a joke. This is truly a "ball and chain" device designed to lock children into proper study habits so adults don't have to work too hard to teach them proper study habits to begin with. Well, perhaps that's going a bit overboard, because in reality it's just a silly little gadget with marketing that seems more geared to college students than parents. Any parent who'd think seriously about chaining their child up to this thing in the hopes that it'll teach their children better study habits has more than enough problems already.

The heavy ball (21 pounds) makes movement difficult, and the cuff only unlocks after a set period of time. Regardless of what it's original purpose is intended for, it can easily be imagined that parents could use this contraption as punishment for small children. I can just see a young child with one of those closed around the ankle, like a prisoner.

The maximum time it can be locked is four hours, which means parents can easily just "set it and forget it" and leave their child dragging around a ball and chain for hours until time's called. Could the imagery of "slavery" be applied to children and youths in an any more direct manner? There's not even an attempt to make this one covert. The message it drives home, to every kid that wears it, is that "you are submissive."

For parents who use it for what it's intended for, do they really want their children coming to recognize studying as a "slave task?"

The website says: "Quite often, students who are having problems concentrating tend to get up every ten minutes to watch TV, talk on the phone, take something out of the fridge, and a long list of other distractions.

"Were they to dedicate all this wasted time to studying, they would optimise their performance and have more free time available."

It's as if they took the "school-to-prison pipeline" literally! So many young people are getting arrested for minor crimes and non-crimes, getting criminal records earlier than ever. I suppose it was only a matter of time before they started making the schoolwork itself a prison, as if to prepare them for such a bright future. Seriously though, children can be taught more effective study habits by parents who double as good teachers. Parenting shouldn't be entrusted to a timer on a ball and chain.

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