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.

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Report: U.K. Health Campaign Will Tout Benefits of Active Games

April 24, 2009 -

Last month's controversy over a British government health agency ad which appeared to link video games to childhood obesity has subsided.

But beyond that, MCV UK reports that today the government's Change4Life organization will launch a campaign touting the benefits of active gaming.

Presumably, that would include the likes of Nintendo's Wii as well as multi-platform titles like Dance Dance Revolution (see screenshot from new ad at left). MCV quotes Minister for Public Health Dawn Primarolo:

Active video games, where kids need to jump up and down or dance about as part of the game, are a great way to get kids moving more.

Little bits of activity like this, throughout the day can easily add up to the 60 active minutes kids need. But our survey shows that at the moment our kids just aren’t getting up and about enough.

UPDATE: The new Change4Life ad, which at one point depicts a character playing a DDR -like game, can be seen here.

16 comments

North Dakota's 1st Lady Plays Guitar Hero... Legislators Fail at DDR

February 6, 2009 -

Bismarck's KYFR-5 reports that North Dakota's First Lady Mikey Hoeven (sporting the big hair at left) has played a bit of Guitar Hero. And the wife of Gov. John Hoeven (R) isn't bad at Dance Dance Revolution, either.

News of Mrs. Hoeven's gaming chops leaked during an American Heart Association event at the State Capitol. KYFR reports that legislators who gave DDR a try didn't fare nearly as well as the First Lady:

Sen. Dwight Cook knows a thing or two about North Dakota politics, but there was one thing going on at the capitol today that was over his head.

"It's not easy, it`s not easy at all," Cook says.

The response most legislators had after testing out Dance, Dance Revolution... Unfortunately, legislators weren`t so enthused about the high-tech workout.

"Most of them, I think, are a little shy or shy away from it because of the technology, I think they`re afraid like `Oh is this going to move too fast for me?` And `I can`t do this,`" says [gym teacher Tammi] Doppler...

First Lady Mikey Hoeven was among the top scoring in the political sector. But she admits, she had the upper hand as the concept of the game isn`t new because she`s played Guitar Hero.

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