As someone who's been gaming constantly since the age of four, I don't really buy into this, but whatever. A panel held at CES, where specialists discussed the impact electronics are having on kids, has thrown up some interesting arguments about videogames. One, from educational psychologist Jane Healy, is that because games teach kids "fight or flight" skills rather than "considered reasoning", they adversely affect a child's learning development. So she argues they should be kept away from games until they're seven, which is old enough to have allowed their brains to have developed "normally".
Other studies were similarly themed. One, which looked at over 300 "educational" games, virtual worlds and PC software found that of those examined, only two - both educational games - employed "proven" learning techniques. The rest relied on kids sitting alone in front of a screen, which is apparently not much good to them.
In the end, many present called for an industry-wide code of ethics, aimed at halting the "commercial exploitation" of kids who are, in ever-increasing numbers, visiting branded internet sites and virtual worlds.
All of which is serious business, no? As stated, I've been gaming for hours a day since the age of four, and like to believe my brain's developed somewhat normally. Course I'm writing this dressed in a bear suit, disassembling an AK-47 while recounting the ten commandments in Flemish, but that's all good. Isn't it?