Thursday, December 24, 2009
7 News Investigations: Mind Games
On Christmas morning many kids will be tearing open the latest video games, but after years of focusing on all the bad effects, some researchers now believe video games could actually give your kids a brain boost. 7s Lynn Martinez shows us why these Mind Games can be good.
WSVN -- Foster and Parker hirsch have got their small hands on almost every video gaming system out there.
Parker Hirsch: "We have a lot of games. We have DSi, PSP, Xbox and Wii."
For one hour a day, the boys get to choose from three different spots in the house devoted to video games, and their mom Michelle actually encourages them to play.
Michelle Hirsch: "I actually do. I like them to play video games. It builds their minds. That's the way I feel."
For years, we've been warned about the dangers of video games, that they encourage violence and they're mindless activities, but some researchers are now saying there is a positive side to playing video games.
Dr. Ian Miller: "When you're playing a video game, you're not just zoning out. The brain is much more active."
Many video games are created to encourage the player to reach a higher level in the game and doctors say it's those challenges that can be a powerful tool for training the brain.
Even failing at games can encourage learning.
Eric Klopfer: "Kids will try again and again and fail often, and you know, we often think failure is a bad thing, but in games, failures are a way of learning."
Eric Klopfer the director for Mit's Education Arcade in Massachusetts admits that not all video games are created equal.
He encourages parents to look for game that are designed for problem solving.
Eric Klopfer: "Games like Scribble Nauts on the D.S. 'LittleBigPlanet' on the Playstation 3, that are great problem solving games that can teach complex thinking skills."
Believe it or not, wven fast-paced action games have benefits.
Eric Klopfer: "A lot of the research on things like visual and motor skills focus on action games. The ability of seeing multiple things on the screen at the same time and having to discern which ones are important."
New research also shows playing the game Tetris could help the brain become more efficient.
Dr. Ian Miller: "Games like Tetris, where you have to rotate a complex shapes in order to make it fit another shape. That will definitely help shape processing and visual spatial skills."
Michelle believes her boys are winning when it comes to mind games.
Michelle Hirsch: "I definitely think the video games challenge their brain and helps them take the extra step."
Even if that extra step is just to have fun.
Lynn Martinez: "Researchers agree more studies need to be done to identify, which games are the best at boosting the brain."