PC Games News

Research suggests minimum gaming age should be enforced

By Stevie Smith Jan 17, 2008, 13:10 GMT

Research suggests minimum gaming age should be enforced

Should kids be kept away from gaming until the age of seven? Credit: ec.gc.ca

Technology experts concerned with the development of children have this week offered that videogames should be withheld from kids until they reach the age of seven, claiming that gaming before such an age creates the risk of damaging attention spans and learning abilities.

Specifically, while discussing the effects of electronic games on children at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, educational psychologist Jane Healy said that computer games and videogames promoted "flight or fight" instincts over more considered learning and reasoning.

Healy went on to suggest the observation of young kids playing computer games revealed that the majority simply strike keys or frantically move the mouse controller with no clear direction: "It reminds me of rats running in a maze," she said in a Daily Mail report.

According to Healy, parents should therefore consider keeping their children away from electronic games until the age of seven, which will allow an appropriate length of time for proper brain development.

Backing Healy’s claims, research from the Joan Ganz Cooney Centre (which studies the effect of the media and technology on children, and also played a part in the creation of Sesame Street) outlines that age ranges related to the use of electronic gadgets has dropped from eight in 2005 to around six and a half in 2007.

The Centre’s research, which included some 300 different toys, games, and virtual environments, found that only two utilised proven learning techniques while many products simply relied on the user being isolated before a computer monitor.

The CES discussion resulted in experts claiming that an industry code of ethics should be brought into practice that would protect young children from falling foul of online commercial exploitation in light of hugely popular interactive - but isolating - product Web sites.

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