Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dyspraxia and Motor Skills: Interactive Video Games Help to Sharpen

Mothers tell their children not to play video games because they believe that the games have a major impact on the child's brain, but now researchers have found that interactive video games improve motor skills among preschool children.

Researchers from Deakin University and the University of Wollongong have found that pre-schoolers who play interactive video games have better motor skills. The discovery was made while studying the link between electronic games and children's fundamental movement skills.

During the study, researchers monitored the physical activity levels and movement skills of 53 children aged between three and six years. Then they asked the children's parents to provide a report of the time spent playing interactive games such as Nintendo Wii/Eyetoy and non-interactive electronic games such as Nintendo DS/ Gameboy in a typical week.

Among the 53 preschool students, 35 per cent played non-interactive electronic games while the other 23 per cent played interactive games.

The study found that children who spent more time playing interactive electronic games were more competent in object control skills, such as kicking, catching, rolling, and bouncing a ball, but there was no association with locomotor skills such as hopping, jumping, running.

The findings have been published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills.

"While we found that greater time spent playing interactive electronic games is associated with higher object control skills in these young children, we cannot say why," said Dr Lisa Barnett, researcher at the Deakin University's School of Health and Social Development.

Dr Lisa Barnett claims that interactive game players have higher object control skills because the games help develop these types of skills. Playing interactive electronic games may also help eye-hand coordination.

Previously, researchers had found that children with better fundamental movement skills became more active adolescents compared to children who have poorer movement skills.

"What our findings do point to is a need to investigate further to determine if playing these games improves object control skills or if children with greater object control skill proficiency prefer and play these games," Dr Barnett said.

Conclusions: If the relationship between object control skill and physical activity is viewed as a ‘‘positive feedback loop,’’ skill development and increasing physical activity should simultaneously be targeted in physical activity interventions. Increasing perceived sport competence should also be an intervention focus.

View the paper here

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