Ever wonder how many .gov websites are geared toward children? Lemme tell ya, there are quite a few.
Ben’s Guide, brought to you by the Superintendent of Documents in the U.S. Government Printing Office, provides pretty comprehensive listings, by both subject and agency. If you click over and give a scroll, you’ll get an idea of the wide range.
Of course, the EPA has lots of educational material on how you too can sacrifice your quality of life while people like Al Gore burn more fossil fuel than a small town. Behold the silliness that is Energy Star Kids. You can save the planet by turning off your electronics, boys and girls!
Hi! I look cute and harmless while I teach your kids to worry about how much water they use!
Witness the misleading nature of a happy lil water drop: “As our population grows, more and more people are using up this limited resource.” Ain’t he cute, the way he ignores the water cycle and implies that water is nonrenewable?
Recycle City is another typical government page for kids. The only thing that would surprise me would be to learn that children actually use and enjoy the “Dumptown Game.”
Credit is due to whoever wrote the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Energy Kids section on greenhouse gasses. They had the integrity to use the word may while discussing climate change.
The EPA, on the other hand, goes straight into “settled science” mode in the official Student Guide to Global Climate Change:
“The Earth is getting warmer because people are adding heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere, mainly by burning fossil fuels. . . . Warmer temperatures are causing other changes around the world, such as melting glaciers and stronger storms.” Emphasis mine.
Two sites are in competition for Worst Advice Ever: The Great Bully Round-up by the Center for Disease Control, and the Kids’ Place at the Social Security Administration. I just don’t know which is worse: telling children that Social Security is their piggy bank, or advising them to inform a bully, “I don’t do this to you. You should really think about that.”
The CDC needs to leave anti-bully campaigning to the Department of Health and Human Services.
The .gov kid sites are not all bad. The U.S. Mint’s H.I.P. Pocket Change has loads of online games that look promising. (The acronym stands for “History In your Pocket.”) Kids.gov has a bunch too. The Department of Energy’s Science Education page is actually, well, educational. I wouldn’t mind trying the Federal Trade Commission’s mall shopping game. And as much as I hate to admit it, letting children share their very own recipes atthe USDA’s ChooseMyPlate is a cute idea. The Mine Safety and Health Administration’s site is in need of a makeover, but I like the canary story.
Neither is this kids’ stuff new. The federal government has aimed its informational messaging towards children for a long time. The whole “let’s get our youth fit!” thing started when Eisenhower was president. Smokey Bearhas been around since 1944, and thanks to him we all know that only we can prevent forest fires.
But guys, come on. Some federal agencies just don’t need a kids’ page. I mean, the Veteran’s Administration? And must it include cheesy games? Let’s see . . . there’s the Disaster Master game at FEMA. (Being a hero is fun!) There are games hosted by
Twitchy the Tourette Cat Broadband the Cat over at the FCC’s kid zone. The CIA games, hosted by a Cool Spy Chick, include an aerial analysis challenge.
The trend just keeps on growing. The U.S. Postal Service is teaming up with SpongeBob to teach children how to send snail mail. And the latest federal agency to add a webpage just for da littles? Drum roll please . . .
Wait for it . . .
Wait for it . . .
The Transportation Security Administration!
Via Lily Dane at The Daily Sheeple, we learn that TSA.gov now includes “TSA Kids” and a “Fun Page.” Click on over to The Daily Sheeple and compare the “Stop, Screen, Go” cartoon propaganda at TSA Kids to actual experiences of some unfortunate children screened by TSA. The excellent TSA News Blog has a long list of additional examples like poor Lucy Forck, lest you think the cases are isolated.
I, for one, can personally vouch for the fact that you have to try to make a frightened toddler walk through the metal detector on his own, if the agent is in the mood to watch your two-year-old try to climb up your legs while screaming himself sweaty and beet-red. At least until a supervisor comes over and shows you a little mercy.
But I haven’t yet revealed the worst part of all: TSA.gov’s section for kids does not yet feature any video games.
TSA needs to get with the program. Stat. I bet we can all pitch some great game ideas. Like Patdown Party or Baby Stroller-and-Gear Breakdown-Then-Reassemble-While-Putting-Shoes-On Race.
Or . . What’s In Grandma’s Underwear?