Remember the days when cafeteria lunches always had at least one or two treasures in otherwise less-than-appetizing offerings? Thanks (or no thanks) to clever online systems like MealpayPlus and ParentOnline, kids can be banned from those delectable desserts and forced to ingest the nauseating tuna surprise. Pre-payment operations allow parents to choose what items can be chosen by their children, what quantities can be consumed, and what foods cannot be taken. If a rebellious student attempts to purchase a prohibited item, the cashier is alerted and the item must be returned, much to the child's dismay. Schools across the nation are allowing for proactive parents to take advantage of the plans in an attempt to curb childhood obesity
and to make lunch lines move faster -- nearly 1.5 million hungry kids will be kept in check during lunch time when school resumes this fall. But as always, kids will be kids, and the hackers of tomorrow are learning the tricks of the trade early-on: according to a research study, 73 percent of 8-12 year-olds are throwing out part of their lunches at least once a week, while a commendable 36 percent are bartering bazaar-style to get what they want. While programs like these
have a solid premise, we envision kids making friends for more than just social reasons as middle-school cafeterias turn into fast-paced trading blocks to circumvent the system as connector children smuggle in junk food from the outside world. Or maybe we're just letting our imaginations get away with ourselves again.