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How Do Video Games Affect ADHD?

By — One of many ADD / ADHD blogs on SmartLivingNetwork.com

Every month there seems to be a new study published on ADHD, telling parents to restrict their kids' diet, make their children exercise more, play more video games, play fewer video games, watch less TV… the list goes on. As it turns out, there are no set rules when it comes to children with ADHD . As a parent, you'll need to determine what is best for your child and what may increase their ADHD symptoms.

Video Games and ADHD

For every study that says video or computer games may cause ADHD, there are other studies that report no such link. Some children and parents of children with ADHD report that video games help to calm their children down and help them focus. This point is debatable however, due to the fast-paced nature of video games.

Smart Brain Games

A neurofeedback video game called Smart Brain Games has been released by Cyber Learning Technology. The game utilizes technology developed by NASA and requires users to focus on the game. The neurofeedback element works by responding to brain waves. If the user zones out, the game responds to the different brain waves and doesn't work. In time, this trains the brain to maintain alertness and concentration, using different brain waves.

How Does the Game Work?

The video game player puts on a helmet with special sensors inside to measure and monitor brain waves. The sensors then send the information to be processed, and then on to the controller. If the wrong brain waves are being used, the video game stops working.

What's the Connection Between Brain Waves and ADHD?

There are five different types of brain waves. Two of these differ between children with ADHD and those without. Beta waves occur when we are concentrating on a task. Theta waves are the daydreaming brain waves and occur as we are drifting to sleep or day dreaming. When normal children perform a task requiring concentration, like reading, their brains produce beta, or concentration, waves. When children with ADHD try to read, their brains produce theta, or day dreaming, waves, making it much more difficult to focus. The idea behind neurofeedback is to train the ADHD brain to produce beta waves instead of theta waves. The video game works by positively reinforcing the use of beta waves.

Are Video Games a Cure?

The video game should not be used or viewed as a cure, as no known cure exists. While some children who've undergone neurofeedback have shown immense improvements in their ADHD, the use of neurofeedback or the Smart Brain Game should be used in addition to other therapies. Commonly, a comprehensive plan of diet, therapy, parental therapy, and social and educational training is used.

References:

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/gaming/2006-03-09-game-therapy_x.htm

http://www.wqad.com/Global/story.asp?S=5167491&nav=7k8p

http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/children/parents/behavior/118.html

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-03-26-adhd-treatment_x.htm

Photo Credit: Stefan


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