Video games improve attention in children with ADHD

The tool includes a series of quests which turn into challenges for children, who with a cellphone or tablet embark on trying to discover similarities between figures, for instance, stimulating concentration, memory and striking their interest.

Most parents fret when their child stays glued to a video game or computer for hours, and they fret for good reason. The gaming industry has been built on violence and frenzied action.

What if electronic games could help children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD) increase focus for tasks that they find boring?

They might. Parents, therapists, and educators can choose from several new games and devices on the market that may train distracted children or adults to pay more attention.

Researchers from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia created a tool that hopes to improve the condition of children between 4 and 11 years of age with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The creators of the video game Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) in Manizales IT Management students Steven Alejandro Viñez, Christian Camilo Gallego, Daniel López and Juan Pablo Loaiza Pérez claim that children face quests focused on discovering hidden elements, avoiding obstacles, making decisions and taking memory tests.

“These activities stimulate concentration, when for instance children discover pairs of hidden objects. Each quest has different levels just as in conventional video games,” they added.

The authors of the game say the game has an interface which welcomes the user and a "life" bar where the player may choose the player, observe the score and control movements.

“From the main screen, the game directs children to play the story and interact with animal imagery and light colors,” said the group spokesperson.

ADHD usually appears before seven years of age, and its clinical treatment is for life and using prescription drugs. Therefore the creators of the game hope to innovate using technology to better support children population which suffer from ADHD.

To access the video game children need to be accompanied by their parents or an expert to show them around the game.

“The research project emerged from the need to search and discover alternative solutions,” they added.

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