VIDEO GAMES REPLACE P.E. IN SOME AUSTRALIA

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SCHOOLS
Nintendo’s Wii allows virtual tennis, baseball indoors

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 5, 2010) - Video games are replacing sport in some Australian schools under a new government policy allowing children to play virtual tennis, baseball and boxing on Wii consoles during physical education, The (Sydney) Sunday Telegraph reported.

Despite growing levels of child obesity, the New South Wales Department of Education and the Australian Sports Commission have put Nintendo’s Wii Fit on the PE curriculum. Alongside cricket, soccer and touch football, parents can opt for their children to play Wii Fit in PE class.

[PIR editor’s note: Wii is a home video game console produced by Nintendo which features a wireless control stick which detects movement in three dimensions. The device, which hooks up to a television set, competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3 and retails for about US$200.]

The move has been criticized by Australian world champion boxer Danny Green, who said he would pull his children out of school if computer games were offered as a sport.

"I could think of nothing worse than having my kids stuck indoors in front of a computer and square box," the father-of-two said. "They are inside a school long enough and to put them indoors for sport is disgraceful."

Mosman High School is trialing the technology, offering it as an optional sport parents can select from a list of outdoor activities such as kayaking and touch football.

A department spokesman said they supported incorporating new technologies in the "delivery of sport and physical activity."

"Wii Sports requires physical activity and it’s being monitored for its effectiveness," the spokesman said.

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