Category Archives: Games and culture

Research Finds that Screen Time is as Harmful as … a Potato.

Stop worrying so much about kids playing Fortnite and other games.  New research finds that screen time is as harmful to children as … a potato.

“Researchers at the University of Oxford have performed the most definitive study to date on the relationship between technology use and adolescent mental health, examining data from over 300,000 teenagers and parents in the UK and USA. At most, only 0.4% of adolescent wellbeing is related to screen use – which only slightly surpasses the negative effect of regularly eating potatoes. The findings were published today in Nature Human Behaviour.

“Our findings demonstrate that screen use itself has at most a tiny association with youth mental health,” says lead researcher Professor Andrew Przybylski, Director of Research at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. “The 0.4% contribution of screen use on young people’s mental health needs to be put in context for parents and policymakers. Within the same dataset, we were able to demonstrate that including potatoes in your diet showed a similar association with adolescent wellbeing. Wearing corrective lenses had an even worse association.”

In comparison, smoking marijuana and being bullied was found, on average, to have a 2.7 times and 4.3 times more negative association with adolescent mental health than screen use. Activities like getting enough sleep and eating breakfast, often overlooked in media coverage, had a much stronger association with wellbeing than technology use.

The method used by the researchers, called Specification Curve Analysis, revealed the reason there seems to be no firm scientific consensus on screen use and mental health. “Even when using the same datasets, each researcher brings different biases with them and analyses the data slightly differently,” says Amy Orben, College Lecturer at the Queen’s College, University of Oxford, and author on the study. “Of the three datasets we analysed for this study, we found over 600 million possible ways to analyse the data. We calculated a large sample of these and found that – if you wanted – you could come up with a large range of positive or negative associations between technology and wellbeing, or no effect at all.” In other words, “We needed to take the topic beyond cherry-picked results, so we developed an approach that helped us harvest the whole orchard,” adds Przybylski.

In order to remove bias and examine practical significance (rather than statistical significance), the researchers used information from other questions in the same dataset to put the statistical findings on screen use in context. “Research’s reliance on statistical significance can yield bizarre ‘results'”, says Orben. “We need to look at the size of the association to make a judgement on practical significance. If you told me the amount of time a teenager spends on digital devices, I could not do very well predicting their overall wellbeing, as only 0.4% is associated with technology use.”

“Bias and selective reporting of results is endemic to social and biological research influencing the screen time debate,” says Przybylski. “We need to put scientific findings in context for parents, policymakers and the general public. Our approach provides an excellent template for data scientists wanting to make the most of the excellent cohort data available in the UK and beyond.”

Method:

The data was drawn from three large-scale representative datasets: Monitoring the Future (USA), Youth Risks and Behaviour Studies (USA) and the Millennium Cohort Study (UK), totalling over 300,000 individuals surveyed between 2007 and 2016. The findings were derived using Specification Analysis Curve method, which examined the full range of correlations relating digital technology use to child and adolescent psychological wellbeing. Details on methodology and all necessary code to reproduce the analysis are available in the paper’s supplementary material.” – From EurekAlert! Press Release.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/uoo-tue011419.php

 

Video Games Build Critical Thinking Skills

Jordan Shapiro, gave a great talk on “Critical Thinking And Video Games: Scalable Pedagogy For The Future.”

Jordan Shapiro, author of FREEPLAY: A Video Game Guide to Maximum Euphoric Blisssays that; “Video games teach critical thinking, problem solving skills, and perseverance while building metacognitive skills.  Game-based learning can provide systematic, data driven teaching in a way that forces creative problem solving rather than rote memorization.  And video games can do that in a way that is replicable, scalable, and increasingly affordable enough that we can distribute it globally and equitably.”

To read more click here;

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2014/03/19/heres-why-we-need-video-games-in-every-classroom/

James Gee Interviewed on Game-Based Learning

James Paul Gee

of Games and Learning interviewed James Gee on game-based learning.

Banville writes that; “For more than a decade, James Paul Gee has been writing about the potential power of games and game mechanics to change the way we learn, to create new “deep” learners.

But in this newsmaker interview Gee says most of the possibilities of games remain unfulfilled as the American education system continues to focus on tests and fact retention.

He worries that even as learning games become more prevalent, they are in danger of being changed by the schools they seek to sell to rather than changing the school itself.

“The textbook was the worst educational invention ever made because it was a one size fits all type thing and we don’t want to do the same things with games. We don’t want to bring games to school,” he said. “We want to bring a networked system of tools and deep learning and practices that have been tested and are focused on problem solving and not just fact retention — that’s what we want to bring to school. Games can be a very important part of that mix.”

To read more click here; http://www.gamesandlearning.org/2014/02/10/newsmaker-james-gee-on-why-the-power-of-games-to-teach-remains-unrealized/

To Listen to the full interview click here;

A Learning Game to Combat Drugs, Alcohol, and Obesity

Clare Weir writes;

“A digital entrepreneur is in talks with educational authorities in the USA to sell his computer game which educates children on the dangers of drugs, alcohol and obesity.

Newcastle man Aaron Gibson (21) set up his games design company ‘YumPod Technologies’ at 18 and invented ‘You vs The World’ for children and teenagers.

An accompanying website is designed to fit into the school curriculum, and has already been accepted into over 300 schools in England, Scotland and Wales, with plans afoot to roll the game out in Northern Ireland schools shortly.”

To read the full article click here;

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/kids-drug-education-game-to-hit-us-market-30001176.html

Is Gaming “Losing the Culture War”?

Brian Crecente writes that;

“A culture war is raging in the United States right now and video games are losing.

That’s according to Gilman Louie, former video game developer, founder of a venture capital firm that works with U.S. intelligence agencies, and advisor to the CIA, NSA and Defense Intelligence Agency. Louie, who founded and ran Spectrum HoloByte before leaving the business of game development, was named one of fifty scientific visionaries by Scientific American in 2002.

‘The anti-gaming establishment owns the vocabulary and have done a very successful job of convincing many that interactive games are harmful (especially to children) and that screen time is to blame for most of the social ills,” Louie tells Polygon. “Whether it be the awful events that took place at Sandy Hook or bullying in schools, video games have been the easy target for those who wish to pass blame.'”

Crecente continues;

“Louie recommended that 0.1 percent of the $93 billion video game market be invested in various institutions and nonprofits to work to promote the positive aspects of gaming and how gaming can provide a competitive advantage for children.

The battle for the hearts and minds of the public continues.

“I was advocating the need for more research,” he said, “a closer affiliation with the education industry, a significant increase in scholarships for those pursuing career fields related to gaming…”

To read the full article by Brian Crecente on Polygon, click here;

http://www.polygon.com/2014/2/10/5397224/video-games-are-losing-the-culture-war-in-america-gaming-pioneer-says