Thursday, February 5, 2015

Argument continues about the influence of computer gaming on child development

Several decades has passed since computer games were invented. Nowadays, we are easily indulged in computer games and applications everywhere. And many parents have been blaming such behaviors of the children.

On the other hand, parents who are willing to make use of gaming applications to calm their children are increasing. There are many applications developed with iPad and tablets. In some of these games, an educational effect for the users is emphasized.

Whether computer gaming is beneficial or harmful to toddlers is still controversial. Newly studies are frequently introduced into this matter. Recently, The Guardian made an excuse about an article released just before.

The Guardian: No, research does not say that ‘iPads and smartphones may damage toddlers’ brains’

Indeed, a paper suggesting the potential danger of electric devices for children was introduced in a past article.

The Guardian: Tablets and smartphones may affect social and emotional development, scientists speculate

As the writer directed, this paper is not so decisive. It is merely describing an opinion of the authors. No specific investigation was conducted.

Pediatrics: Mobile and Interactive Media Use by Young Children: The Good, the Bad, and the Unknown

In contrast, there is evidence suggesting benefits of computer games on children. Several studies have shown that children's body becomes active while playing a video game. This result is rather persuasive because this conclusion is derived from the compilation of many studies. However, it does not suggest that you should let your child play a game for a long time. All adverse effects were not measured in those studies.

JAMA Pediatrics: Active Video Games to Promote Physical Activity in Children and Youth

In my opinion, it is nonsense to question games is good or bad. Any excessive activity is harmful to all. But, to determine the border is quite difficult. Researchers hesitate to write a guideline in which a certain length of gaming is permitted.

In Japan, Toshiyuki Takahashi, so-called Takahashi-meijin [Takahashi the Champion], an advertisement man belonged to Hudson Soft, a computer game developer, made an impressive comment in 1980s. He said, "One hour gaming in a day," meaning that you should limit gaming within one hour in a day. He thought you could concentrate more efficiently for a limited time. In addition, children had many things worthy to do other than gaming, in his opinion.

Interestingly, a study conducted at Oxford University revealed that low engagement (less than one hour in a day) of gaming was associated with life satisfaction in children. The idea of Takahashi was proven to be correct by academic research.

Pediatrics: Electronic Gaming and Psychosocial Adjustment

Anyway, gaming is both a fun and a trap. I will continue gaming within my control.

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