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Psychiatrist: Videogames Can Teach Kids Empathy

| 8 Jan 2009 15:04
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A Chicago-based psychiatrist says parents often aren't aware of the many benefits videogames can offer children because of the intense focus on controversial games that are designed for mature gamers.

"Games have lots of benefits, which unfortunately, parents aren't always aware of when the only games they're exposed to are the controversial violent ones targeted to more mature players," said Dr. Kourosh Dini, author of Video Game Play and Addiction: A Guide for Parents and a long-time gamer himself. "Age appropriate multiplayer video games can allow children to learn how other people think - a key aspect of empathy. Games can also help a child become more comfortable with new and ever progressing technology."

Topics covered in the book include improved learning and communications skills, emotional and mental health, aggression, motivational and withdrawal issues. Dini also looks at the controversial subject of videogame addiction, noting that despite the opinions of daytime talk-show hosts and grandstanding "experts," the American Medial Association has thus far declined to categorize videogame addiction as an actual mental illness. Nonetheless, he says there are gamers who play to excess, and examines the warning signs, causes and consequences of unhealthy gaming. "To be sure, there are those who play problematically," he said. "Learning how to tell the difference can be critical toward promoting healthy development."

Dini's experience with games stretches from Super Mario Bros. to World of Warcraft and Second Life, and it's interesting to note that as roles in society continue to be filled by people who grew up with gaming, fears over the corrupting influence of videogames don't just wane but are demonstrably debunked. Video Game Play and Addiction: A Guide for Parents is available at Amazon and other online bookstores.

via: Edge

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