Category Archives: causation

Games, technology and student learning and well-being

Self-proclaimed gamer and technology-user

I frequently play games through a variety of technological mediums. Physical skill, board, console, computer, mobile, you name it. I was raised in the gamer generation and have learned a lot from it to apply to the real world. Conversely I also spend a lot of time aware of how much activity I get per day and the food I consume. Combining these, I am a big believer in the gamification of learning and living. What I learned from play has translated to success in the workplace and health. I think that play engages students greatly and the modern means of that engagement dominantly occur through technology. Games connect us with others and challenge us to complete goals. But games, like sports, have a dark side to them… and it may be that only with proper education and leadership do we see responsible use of technology and games. And with these dark sides, come risks, and through the management of these risks students continue to learn and develop. Some of these risks may impact health, but with the right education, we can learn from it.

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Photo Credit: lolesports via Compfight cc

Concerns of tech on health

If a student or individual posts up on the Xbox or PC for a “gaming sesh (session)”, snacks will follow. Typically this is associated with the negative stigma of ‘unhealthy’ as “chips and pop” may be the choices selected at times. Some studies correlate gaming to obesity, however, to the right, we see two professional gamers who would not reflect “obesity” on the BMI. Even the frequency of snacking can be called into question on the health of students who game. There is a lot of confusion and different types of data on whether or not snacking negatively or positively affects our health. A common belief was that snacking with smaller meals throughout the day may be healthier, but these tests weren’t necessarily reputable. But, as always, it comes back to moderation and understanding balance. And when these discussions occur at home, through social media and technology (shown below) and at school, students can learn to find that balance with gaming, physical activity, and snacking… within reason.

Personal experience of health and gaming.

I would consider myself a strong believer in the lack of validity associated with personal opinion or “a study showed _______ may…” however I will speak to my personal experience about moderation and technology. Maintaining balance is an ongoing process, I’ve had days of too much screen time playing online games like Diablo II, Starcraft and Ragnarok Online and days of so much physical activity that I couldn’t walk the next day or was so concerned with eating properly I would not eat some food at family gatherings because it wasn’t “healthy enough”. Balance is pivotal. This extends even to the numerous ways that technology could be messing with your brain. Whether it be panicking without your phone and this example subsequently being misused as an excuse to call it a technology addiction. If you lost your car, cat, or kids you would panic too, does this correlate to addiction? The underlying problem is not technology, it is educating ourselves and students on this learning and growing process. Technology can be the vehicle in which problems occur, but correlation does not imply causation, and the potential effects cannot be instantly taken as fact, but carefully analyzed.

 

What do you think? Are games and technology making our kids unhealthy? Let me know!

-Logan Petlak