Active video games help children become smarter by boosting their self-esteem and problem-solving skills besides motivating them to exercise, says a new study.
Penny Sweetser, Daniel Johnson and Peta Wyeth from Australia's Games Research and Interaction Design (GRID) Lab in Queensland investigated the amount of time children spent watching TV and DVDs, compared to playing video games.
Watching TV was a "passive" experience, while video and computer games were interactive, boosting children's self-esteem, problem-solving skills and in some cases, physical activity levels, said Johnson, the Australian Journal for Early Childhood reports.
"Emerging research has shown that active video games such as Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation Move, and the XBOX Kinect can be used to motivate young children to exercise and be more active outside of the game setting," adds Johnson, according to a Queensland statement.
"There is a lot of negative press about gaming and that's not well-supported. Where there is a negative effect, research shows it's on the minority of people. Video games are a mainstream pastime," Johnson says.
Their analysis of data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children found children in a particular age group spent, on an average, some two to three hours watching TV compared to less than a half hour playing video games or using computers.
Working on computer and playing video games should not be classed as the same type of activity as watching TV. Screen-time recommendations, which are based on the sum of all screen-related activities, should be divided into two categories, active and passive screen time, says Sweetser.
"Clearly, certain forms of media such as violent video games are not appropriate for children, and games should be played in moderation," adds Sweetser.