Could video games help children with ADHD?
Video games are so engaging that, if designed correctly, they could help decrease depression, improve attention and reduce impulsivity in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a recent study conducted by a video game company.
The pilot study released at the 62nd annual conference of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that children with ADHD who played a specifically designed video game for half an hour a day, five times a week for four weeks, significantly improved on several tests for attention.
Previous studies showed there might be answers in training the areas of the brain that relate to mindfulness. Study leaders suggested that by employing special tools that help delay gratification, manage impulse, regulate emotional response, improve self-control and assist with attention to detail, patients become more mindful of their behaviors. Some study leaders also suggested mindfulness helps suppress impulses, increase self-awareness and helps renew concentration.
Currently, the video game industry is looking at video games to help manage ADHD as a replacement for medication. Just last year, the video game industry sold over 130 million games resulting in $22 billion in revenue.
Although the gaming industry has designed video games to help combat ADHD, physicians say research remains inconclusive. Parents are also concerned that too much time in front of screens could have the opposite effect.
“With an issue as sensitive and widespread as ADHD, parents are wise to remain cautious,” says Dr. James Weedon, director of Developmental Pediatrics at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “It’s just too early in the research to draw appropriate conclusions. The science behind such claims is crucial and more independent research is needed.”
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