May 31, 2008

Can video games be good?

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced last week that they are funding research to answer an interesting question: can video games be positive for the health and well being of adults and kids?

According to AOL News, some of the research being funded includes:

  • a Cornell University study on "how a mobile phone game rewarding healthy eating and exercise will influence children's behavior"
  • a University of Florida study to look at "how playing Playstation 2's "Crazy Taxi" affects perception in the elderly"
  • a University of South Carolina study "to investigate the potential for using video games such as Wii and EyeToy to help people recover their motor skills after experiencing a stroke"
As Debra Lieberman, a researcher from UC Santa Barbara, said in the article: "A good game, or a game where you could actually learn some skills or develop some self-confidence could displace some of the more time-wasting video games that are out there. That could be a win-win in many ways."

While video games do get a bad rap in the health care world, I'm of the opinion we have to admit there are here to stay and find a way to include them in a healthy life style. If these studies help us advice people to do that better, how can we argue otherwise? What do you think? Email me at and let me know.