Monday, October 22, 2007

Keeping Kids Calm with Video Games

If ritalin isn't enough, child psychiatrists have found a new way to keep children calm- video games. Psychiatric Times presents a case in which playing video games 6-7 hours a day helped a child's self esteem:
Case Vignette: Games and Attention/ Learning Disorders
Alex, a 13-year-old boy, spends 6 to 7 hours a day playing video games. He locks himself in his room, misses meals, and often stays up most of the night, which results in school tardiness. He learns "cheats" (tricks to find quick solutions to game-based problems) online, converses with players in chat rooms, and has accumulated a great deal of knowledge about the intricacies of the many, often violent, games he plays.
Although very bright, Alex has a nonverbal learning disability, social difficulties, poor athletic skills, and attention problems, and he was often made fun of at school. The primary source of his self-esteem, beyond academic achievement, is his video game prowess.
His parents have no understanding of the games, nor of the video games' central importance in his life. Other children in school often come to him for advice about games and strategies and ask to play with him. This has become his claim to fame in and out of school.
While his parents need to educate themselves about the games he is playing and to set limits on his game play, their initial response to curtail them has been modified over time, allowing for an important avenue in the socialization of their son.
Therapy for Alex and his parents involved their appreciation of the role and meaning of games in his life. His parents needed to understand that competence is a crucial component of positive self-esteem—something Alex needed tremendously in order to take on academic and social challenges. Video games provided a means for Alex to feel more confident in moving ahead in these areas. With a greater understanding of the role the games played in his life, his parents were much more tolerant of his game playing.

If your child doesn't play video games, it could be a problem:
Ironically, Seung-Hui Cho's college roommates found it odd that he never joined them in playing video games.
(Seung-Hui Cho was the Virginia Tech shooter)

The full article, Children and Video Games: How Much Do We Know? by Cheryl K. Olson, ScD, Lawrence Kutner, PhD, and Eugene V. Beresin, MD is on the Psychiatric Times website.

I encourage readers of this blog to read the full text of this distubing article. Ritalin and video games... what will child psychiatrists recommend next to control our children???


Anonymous said...

Kudos! Very informative article, keep up the good work!
This blog will be one of the many that I visit everyday.

Best of luck,

Anonymous said...

Wow, I really do not agree with that at all... video games in childhood may lead to a far more severe addiction in later years as games become a substitute for social interaction, creativity, and so much more. The latest research on gaming addiction is a wake up call

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