Report: Video Games Good For Kids, Deserve Official Support

June 25, 2009 -

A new report published by the Joan Ganz Clooney Center at Sesame Workshop discusses the potentially positive effects of video games in educating children and promoting their physical well-being.

Game Changer: Investing in Digital Play to Advance Children’s Learning and Health urges educators as well as government and the healthcare industry to look beyond the stereotype of video games as harmful. The report also calls for increased investment in the medium:

All groups committed to the public interest—educators, policymakers, the federal government, industry leaders, philanthropies, universities—should invest resources in learning how to maximize the impact of a potentially powerful phenomenon that can advance both children's learning and health.

Because a large percentage of American youth play video games, increased investment in their positive aspects could reap enormous benefits for the next generation, the report concludes. The authors note, however, that video games are under constant scrutiny due to their perceived negative effects:

Despite their reputation as promoters of violence and mayhem, digital games have in fact been shown to help children gain content and vital foundational and 21st century skills.

While noting that some stakeholders have reservations about investing in video game tech because of the perceived sedentary nature of games and potential links to rising childhood obesity rates, the report notes the popularity of  the Wii and Dance Dance Revolution. Nintendo’s popular console and Konami’s best-selling dance game franchise have helped to alter perceptions about negative physical effects of video games.

The authors also point to a number of well-established examples illustrating the potentially beneficial effects video games could have on the education and health of future American generations:

Digital games are here to stay and offer the country a rare opportunity to leverage children's already established enthusiasm in order to reform education and promote healthy development.

Via: Kotaku

DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab the full Game Changer report here. Grab the executive summary here.

GP: With this article we welcome Doug Buffone to the pages of GamePolitics. Doug, a student at Georgetown, is interning with GP's parent company, the Entertainment Consumers Association.


Comments

Re: Report: Video Games Good For Kids, Deserve Official ...

The only problem is that very few people actually play games with "getting fit" as a goal. Most of the time they'll play whatever is most fun, and that's what games are made for.

It's possible that if enough investment is put in, we could start to see more top-sellers also be games that promote physical activity, especially with innovations such as Microsoft's Project Natal. Still, physical activity will always take a back seat to good gameplay, if for no other reason than good gameplay has a better chance to sell. People who want to spend money on physical activity are still more likely to go to a gym instead of buying a video game console and expensive accessories.

We need to find what other positive effects are and capitalize on them all - improved literacy from all the reading (especially in an RPG), improved planning and strategies, the ever-popular hand-eye coordination, etc. You can't really just focus on one, or critics will easily find a way to make it seem insignificant.

Re: Report: Video Games Good For Kids, Deserve Official ...

Video games have never been the problem with public health.  People driving everywhere and not walking is the problem with public heath.  Kids who are into gaming are less likely to be out on the street looking for a social group possilbly in dangerous people.  Instead they can learn social skills in multiplayer games.

There has for a long time been a mentality to blame what is popular with youth for the ills of society.

Re: Report: Video Games Good For Kids, Deserve Official ...

Bingo. Video games are the new Rock and Roll, or even Pool/Billiards depending on how far you go back.

Re: Report: Video Games Good For Kids, Deserve Official ...

Or even books.  At one time that was the new dangerous technology, which resulted in people burning other people at the stake.  At least we don't do that anymore, except maybe in Saudi, and parts of Pakistan.

Re: Report: Video Games Good For Kids, Deserve Official ...

I used to weight 250, did DDR for a year, weighed 175.  Also, my Wii Fit age is 21, which is good for a 23 year old who usually sits around all day and could still stand to lose a few pounds.

 

I'm 5'8" and about 195 lbs.  Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

 

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

Re: Report: Video Games Good For Kids, Deserve Official ...

I'm 47, 5'11" and 190lbs - that's a bit overweight.  Been playing video games and/or in sedentary jobs for nearly 30 years.  You can't exercise yourself fit unless you're eating fit (and with the correct portions) too.  I've seen folks who exercise for an hour a day religiously, but they can't get the weight off because they're massively overeating.  It works the other way too - if you're not exercising you can't eat few enough calories to counteract the lack of exercise.  If you put in more calories than you burn, you're going to gain weight.

That's why exercising or dieting alone can't help you keep weight off.  In order to successfully maintain a healthy weight it has to be a mixture of both.

Re: Report: Video Games Good For Kids, Deserve Official ...

Im 5'5" and went from 209 to 185 within a year. Wii fit and some real outdoor activies help me lose the weight. Also had some help with Alli.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: Report: Video Games Good For Kids, Deserve Official ...

I'm 5'8" and weigh 205. I would love to be back down to 165. I have DDR. Maybe I could trick myself into thinking that I am not really exercising but really playing a game.

I hate exercise for the sake of exercise. My physical activities need context in order for me to actually follow through with them.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

 
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