Videogames eat brains, says woman

Another day, another videogame health warning:

Children should be banned from playing computer games until the age of seven because the technology is “rewiring” their brains, it is claimed.

Claimed by one woman, that is.

7 replies on “Videogames eat brains, says woman”

>>”If you watch kids on a computer, most of them are just hitting keys or moving the mouse as fast as they can. It reminds me of rats running in a maze.”

I’m not sure what sort of kids she was observing but they were probably using the keyboard mainly with their face. Other than the flash “Spank the monkey” toy or the 80’s track and field game, I cannot think of any activity on a computer that involved just hitting keys or moving a mouse really fast.

I would have thought, however, that using computers to babysit your children is still fundamentally inferior to you interacting with them yourself or having them interacting with other children and getting some exercise to boot, but still a step up from leaving them passive in front of a television. Also under 7s have a tendency to try put everything in their mouths and most electronics aren’t waterproof.

I think she’s over-reacting somewhat by suggesting banning them altogether. I can’t imagine that, if the use is balanced with traditional social and physical development, it would do harm.

Similar criticisms could be given to the reading of books (only moving their eyes, turning the page occasionally) but you wouldn’t say that books “rewire” childrens’ brains.

I think you’re onto something there, Mr Shankly. Books can be very violent, as well! I shudder to think the effect they are having on future generations.

The whole “rewire the brain” thing might be true. It is believed that as a kid your brain does develop based on learning that does “wire” the brain in a semi-permanent way. Not that I know feck all about it though. :-)

Assuming that it is true, it is really bad science to assume that any development would be negative.

Aha! Something I actually know about! Or at least, copy-edited a book about :)

Basically when your brain’s developing it creates pathways from one bit to another. Many of those pathways wither and die through neglect, but ones that are reinforced grow stronger and permanent. It pretty much stops by the age of 7, though, after which the brain starts doing housekeeping and dumping the stuff it reckons you don’t need. So if you want your kids to be musical prodigies or multi-lingual, you need to start them by 7.

Or something. I copy-edited this stuff a long time ago. And it may not even be true. Ho hum.

>most of them are just hitting keys or moving the mouse as fast as they can.

She assumes that hitting the keys or moving the mouse fast isn’t what you’re supposed to be doing – playing a computer game is not the same as typing your dodgy thesis on word…

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