Monday, May 25, 2009

Energy Hogs, Go!

I wanted to investigate energy programs geared towards children. I have two younger siblings that are in grade school and have several habits that cause my parents more headaches than they need. My young sister tends to leave the TV on even while she is outside playing with her friends while my little brother has an obsession with running water. My mother had voiced her concerns about these habits with me, so I decided to try to educate them.

As a child I remember my teacher giving me blue pamphlets with cartoons of some water drop mascot. She gave us maybe an hour's worth of "energy conservation tips" such as watering our lawns at night and to brush my teeth without keeping the faucet on. Looking at my siblings now, I know that teaching styles have changed drastically with the availability of the internet. Instead of comic strips and cheesy cartoons, my siblings are brought up in a world of interactive media.

Energy Hog's homepage is directed to two audiences; adults, and children. "NO ADULTS ALLOWED" is written on the children's link, but of course...I click on it.

I'm welcomed by a diverse pair of scientists for my "HogBuster" training. I create an ID badge using my little sister's name and a cat's face for my profile picture. I read through the script and undergo a series of interactive games while "searching for the energy hogs" like matching refrigerators and whacking a digital hog instead of a mole. Unfortunately the shower hog looks like some hideous aunt in a shower cap, but I'm sure other children won't see the resemblance.

Overall I passed my HogBuster training and I had fun while doing it. I don't get the sense that it is corny or cute, but rather very informative. I had more fun playing the games rather than understanding its context, but perhaps that's the best route for young children with short attention spans.

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