Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Parent's Perspective: Research into the role of Video Games for Cogintive Training

In a recent research project titled "Cognitive training with casual video games: points to consider" published on January 7, 2014 in Frontiers in PSYCHOLOGY they take an in depth look at the value of casual video games on cognitive training.

This is an important study.  Years ago there was a movement to make our babies smarter by using the products produced by Baby Einstein*.  In 2009 NPR looked at the problem with the Baby Einstein products and their claims that they could make your child smarter.  Back then parents were issued refunds if they bought the videos thinking it would make your child smarter.  It was actually counter to the recommendations by the American Academy of Pediactrics which still to this day recommends that children under the age of two watch zero hours of TV a day.

Now researchers are looking at the connection between the Brain Games and their effect.


What I love about this research work, other than its thorough analysis, is the conclusion that they come to:

The goal of this line of research is not simply to evaluate the efficacy of interventions or the superiority of one over another, but to identify several avenues that promote a better quality of life, as a program that works for a certain population may not be suitable for another.

Parenting still matters.  We love video games and the benefits they can bring to our families but there is still no replacing that interaction with Mom and Dad and it is important, as parents, to pay attention to each child understanding that each child is different and has a different style of learning.

*Baby Einstein products are still for sale and I believe that they are well crafted / designed games for your child.  There is really no need to plunk a kid under the age of two down in front of a TV for the sake of learning.  They are learning every second of the day by every new sight and sound.  Eye hand coordination games seem to me to be important at this stage - but I haven't read the research on that one yet and it can depend on each individual child.

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