My gamer son, CM2, will be very pleased that finally someone in the medical world sees the positive aspects of video game play. Of course, CM2 would also tell you that violent video games don't make you violent and healthy individuals understand the difference between the alternate reality of video games and living in the real world. Personally I agree with him. There will always be those with mental illnesses that are drawn into delusion. They existed before video gaming and will be here when the next level of technology is created as well. Ultimately we have to go back to the real issue of why we ignore mental health issues until it's too late. Scapegoating video games and gamers as the world's modern versions of the Trojan Horse helps noone, especially those in dire need of medical support. (Yes, I chose this analogy on purpose. See: Trojan Horse in computing)
Below you will find links to interesting papers written on the subject of video gaming's effect on individuals. I look at these studies always with an inquisitive eye. With too many studies refuting each other, researchers always looking for new dybbuk, and at times coming to their field with their own prejudices, I read the results and then end up with many questions of my own. Considering that psychology is not in and of itself a hard science, and as we have seen with the issues surrounding the methodology behind the DSM V redefinition of autism, we always need to look behind the veil of psychiatry for answers to many of our concerns.
We, as parents, need to remind ourselves that we are the best judges of what is appropriate for our children and how we will handle any issues that develop. Needlesstosay, I do not think its fine to buy rated M games for tweens or children. But then I wouldn't take my boys at that age to an R rated movie either. In the end, whether its about video game play or how to support our autistic children or what is even best for ourselves and our families we simply need to use our own common sense.
Brian PrimackAt TEDMED 2014, Brian Primack, Clinician, Professor, and Researcher at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, sheds light on how principles learned from video game design can be used to create more effective health behavior change.
“I like media literacy because it favors empowerment over protectionism.” - Brian Primack
ABOUT BRIANHaving trained in the wonderfully disparate fields of English literature, mathematics, education, psychology, and medicine, Brian Primack combines his various forms of expertise by researching both positive and negative effects of media and technology on health. He has also pioneered the use of media literacy education in improving adolescent health behaviors and conducted extensive research on waterpipe (“hookah”) tobacco smoking. Brian is currently Assistant Vice-Chancellor of Research on Health and Society, Director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health, and Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh.
INTRIGUED? HERE'S MORE...Games and Health
Q&A with Brian on the TEDMED blog
Role of video games in improving health related outcomes: a systematic review.
Primack BA, et al. Am J Prev Med (2012), 6, 630–8.
Association between media use in adolescence and depression in young adulthood: a longitudinal study.
Primack BA, et al. Arch Gen Psych (2009), 2, 181–8.
Video games: Play or playlike activity?
Primack BA. Am J Prev Med (2009), 37(4), 379-80.
REFERENCESA longitudinal study of risk-glorifying video games and behavioral deviance.
Hull JG, Brunelle TJ, Prescott AT, Sargent JD.J Pers Soc Psychol. 2014 Aug;107(2):300-25.
The effects of video games on laparoscopic simulator skills.
Jalink MB, Goris J, Heineman E, Pierie JP, ten Cate Hoedemaker HO. Am J Surg. 2014 Jul;208(1):151-6.
Using commercial video games for upper limb stroke rehabilitation: is this the way of the future?
Pietrzak E, Cotea C, Pullman S. Top Stroke Rehabil. 2014 Mar-Apr;21(2):152-62.
Brain training with non-action video games enhances aspects of cognition in older adults: a randomized controlled trial.
Ballesteros S, Prieto A, Mayas J, Toril P, Pita C, Ponce de Leon L, Reales JM, Waterworth J. Front Aging Neurosci. 2014;6:277.
The effect of online violent video games on levels of aggression.
Hollingdale J, Greitemeyer T. PLoS One. 2014;9(11):e111790.
Active video games and health indicators in children and youth: a systematic review.
LeBlanc AG, Chaput JP, McFarlane A, Colley RC, Thivel D, Biddle SJ, Maddison R, Leatherdale ST, Tremblay MS. PLoS One. 2013 Jun 14;8(6):e65351.
Video games for diabetes self-management: examples and design strategies.
Lieberman DA. J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2012 Jul 1;6(4):802-6.
By the way, it's also Mr.GS who likes to play World of Warcraft. My Gamer considers it too commercialized and passe. Interestingly, it's also Mr. GS who is studying to be a video game designer, not his gamer brother. So there is that little out-of-the-box aside in the rather interesting world in which I inhabit.
Also read: Video Games: Purpose and Yes, Importance