Is There Anything Video Games Can't Do?

from the it's-all-about-how-they're-used dept

We’ve written more than a few times about this or that study pointing out ways that video games can be helpful to kids — whether by getting them more exercise or in improving the ways they think. Now, here’s yet another story about how video games are being used to help kids with attention deficit disorder concentrate more. If you hadn’t figured it out by now, the point we’re trying to make with all of these examples is that blaming anything simply on “video games” is silly. Video games cover a wide variety of applications — and depending on who is using them and how they’re using them, the impact can be very different.

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Comments on “Is There Anything Video Games Can't Do?”

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Lucas says:

Perhaps an often-cited example, but...

Good point. It seems that people are all too ready with their cause-effect attributions to video games; when it’s actually quite difficult to pin down the cause of any given behaviour in people.

Likewise, one could say that when a religious extremist shoots an abortion doctor, that religion makes people violent. Video games, like religion, can be a positive force in society enhance values and promote working together.

As stated here, people need to stop demonizing the tool, and mistaking it for the cause of any problem.

Always nice to see technologies and positive treatments for patient problems being integrated in a way that helps.

dorpus says:

Ignorant Techies

Actually, people with ADD are known to become hyperfocused and fixated. A video game like that is just making symptoms worse. It goes to show that when ignorant techies make “health” products, nothing good happens. Techies should go back to their adolescent world of “business”, and leave medicine to adults.

Newob says:

Re: Ignorant Techies

Biofeedback is a well known therapy for ADD, and videogames that require hand-eye coordination are good for biofeedback; whereas pharmaceutical “medicines” like Ritalin and so forth are toxic to sensitive child nervous systems. Instead of drugging their children to subdue them, parents should try giving their brains and bodies some healthy exercise. Maybe then the pharmaceutical industry won’t make so much money marketing experimental drugs to kids.

dorpus says:

Re: Re: Ignorant Techies

Right, so you’ve brought up that most amateurish of buzzwords, “pharmaceutical industry”. To people afflicted by Techies-Who-Think-They-Are-Smart Syndrome, this buzzword causes a short circuit in their brain, which says “turn off your thought processes, think about alien mind control and green blood that glows in the dark”.

I would like to know where are these pharmaceutical companies that actually “market” experimental drugs to kids. Although some parents worry that their child may become addicted to ADD medications, to date there is no convincing evidence that stimulant medications, when used for treatment of ADHD, cause drug abuse or dependence. A review of all long-term studies on stimulant medication and substance abuse, conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, found that teenagers with ADHD who remained on their medication during the teen years had a lower likelihood of substance use or abuse than did ADHD adolescents who were not taking medications.

Techie parents with a superstitious fear of medicines will prescribe these useless video games to kids, worsening their hyperfocus symptoms and increasing problems later.

Newob says:

Re: Re: Re: Ignorant Techies

I don’t care what the statistical studies about synthetic drugs for ADD say, the people who publish them are also employed by the industry that makes them and they are paid to say that these drugs are safe for kids and that there is no link between diet and exercise and ADD.

But I know better because I was “diagnosed” with ADD as a kid and I was given drugs to “treat” it. I have memory loss from that time period and Ritalin allegedly caused me Tourette’s syndrome and another drug gave me internal bruising. Plus, the social stigma associated with being identified as a kind of psycho invited more abuse from the other children around me, which was what cause my problems in the first place.

In my opinion ADD is just what happens when a kid has too much imagination and nothing to do with it. We should encourage kids to have imagination and provide more ways for them to express it. Instead we drug those kids in an attempt to dumb them down to the level of everyone else.

Anyway how is “hyperfixation” a symptom of attention “deficeit”? “Hyperfixation” sounds like extra attention to me. I know that when people say I am exhibiting ADD I am only trying to think of something or imagine something or remember something. And all the extra concern and abuse and drugs for that only interrupts my thoughts, whereas I am a much better thinker when I am not being interrupted, and that is usually when I am alone.

Dave says:

Re: Re: Re:2 ADHD

being ADHD myself and having a rather strong support group helping me cope and understand my problem i have learnt a few things RE: ritalin.
i also hope this helps you guys clear up a few things.

ritalin is an anphetamine based drug so yes you can get addidcted to it but its the class A base you become addicted to not any of the other ingredients.

hyperfixation, yes this is also true back when i was on ritalin i became fixated on my computer, this was as the mentors last words quote “I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it’s because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn’t like me… Or feels threatened by me.. Or thinks I’m a smart ass.. Or doesn’t like teaching and shouldn’t be here… Damn kid. All he does is play games”

i do agree that yes computers can and probably are an alternative theropy but this will set them up to fail later on in life, dont let your kid turn into me, get them interested in something active and interesting i hear ice hockey is good this time of year.

Hedwig Mathijs says:

Re: Ignorant Techies

I must disagree…

In the article, it is stated that

“When they first sat down to play, they were physically rocking the entire chair,” she says. “Now, they sit calmly and their eyes are doing all the tracking.”


[the patient] has regained his love of reading, something that had become an activity that he could not sit still and focus on

In my opinion a sign that the symptoms are not worsened by the game, in fact the opposite

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