Video Game Experiment Teaches Angry Kids Not To Rage Against The Machine

There's a new insane study of children and video games out there, and it makes me grateful the Wii died without that ridiculous Vitality Sensor ever coming to market.

Let's say you're playing a video game, a space shooter (can't tell if this is top-down or side-scrolling). Your job is to shoot down enemy spacecraft and avoid friendlies. However, if your heart rate becomes too fast (signaling aggression), your ability to shoot is disabled.

What would you do then? What would I do? WHAT THE HELL? STUPID FIRE BUTTON GODDAMMIT WORK YOU BASTARD and then there's a broken window and a controller on the lawn outside.

But that's the structure of a study at Boston Children's Hospital, designed to teach kids to deliberately calm their emotions. In the case of RAGE Control (the game's name), you can't reacquire the means of shooting until your pulse drops below a certain threshold, I guess by listening to Al Jarreau or something. But hand it to these guys, they've managed to create a system that mandates being cool under fire.

This study examined kids between the ages of 9 and 17 years old who were undergoing inpatient treatment at the hospital's psychiatry service, diagnosed with "extremely high levels of anger." So those are some pissed off kids. One group got the standard anger-management therapy, a second got the therapy plus the video game. Those who played the video game did better and said it helped more.

Researchers Use Video Game to Help Children Control Anger [Game Politics]


    Give them and video game and they'll say it helped more. These are kids who have probably has parents stopping them playing games as a punishment or if they're unluck their parents may have stopped games altogegether if they believed they were the cause.

      Can't wait to be a parent and give kids almost unrestricted video game access (no GTA until you're 13.). My parents did basically the same thing and I turned out pretty good, aside from my nasty habit to lurk around the comments section on kotaku :p

      As useless as this study may be, I can see it being a useful training exercise, even for pro gamers. However, adrenaline makes me perform better, so I'm not sure if taking that away would be helpful or not. It's a cool concept, and they should do it with proper gamers.

        If I didn't restrict my kids to a 1.5 hours a day on weekdays they'd play from the moment they got home till the moment it was time to go to bed. Giving them restrictions means they actually go outside and play in the street with their mates.

        On the weekends though the rule is they can't ply while the sun is out. So if it rains they can play all day.

          "On the weekends though the rule is they can't ply while the sun is out. So if it rains they can play all day."

          That's not a bad idea - I might try that when my kids are old enough.

        It's not a useless study. Why would you think that?

        And giving your kids unlimited access to gaming is not the recipe for a well balanced kid.

        Mine have a limit of 30-45mins. After that they have to do something else for a while. Otherwise it would be for hours non-stop.

    I still believe that if people rage so hard at a video game that they smash things then they have some pretty big anger issues and really need to get that sorted.

      I've broken a controller once. Years ago, but yeah... I agree with you. I was reading this article thinking "I need something like this!"

      I mainly play fighting games and BF3, and always my reason for taking breaks is that I get too angry when getting beat down.

      You have obviously never played Viewtiful Joe.

      Even the calmest of people will rage at the continuous boss fight level once u get to teh shark Boss.
      Normally i'm fairly controlled, however i snapped 2 gamecube controllers in half on that level over the course of 2 months.

    @rowan Once a few years ago is not so bad. I have mates that go through a few controllers a year and one even goes through a new tv each year. And all due to video game rage. Bit of a joke really.

    Last edited 28/10/12 8:59 am

      Jeeez a new tv!!! That's when it's time to hang up the controllers I think.

      Just imagine what they could have bought with the money, if they didn't have to replace the tv!

      Thanks for sharing.

    Adrenaline increases heart-rate too - do they differentiate between adrenaline and anger. Anger is the inability to control frustration. And keeping control of your adrenaline helps you play better - and also helps in alot of other activities in life as well.

    Last edited 28/10/12 12:05 pm

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now