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Game For Kids

We all agree that most video games are violent and very stimulating and that they are not good for our kids. But some Harvard psychiatry professors led a new study on a video game that can actually help children suffering from severe anger issues to learn how to manage their emotions.

Players of this video game gun down space aliens, but they also wear a heart rate detector on one pinkie. If the indicator goes beyond the resting level, it is an indicator that the player is overexcited and thus loses the chance to shoot. 

Researchers used children with high levels of hostility and anger as their subjects. These kids don't want to go through psychotherapy and often don't want to do anger-management techniques. But they are usually willing to spend hours to get to grips with a computer game. In this particular game, the way to success is by learning how to manage their arousal level.

Participants play the games during their therapy sessions with a professional who has modified conventional anger management therapy to supplement the game. During these sessions, he teaches some strategies to kids on how to control their emotions. Some of these strategies are progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing. Then he urges them to try as many techniques as they can to find out which of them help them play the game well.

The basis of this study is that children suffering from serious anger issues usually have problems in their prefrontal cortex, which is that part of the brain responsible for regulating the emotions. Playing the game may cause this brain area to be strengthened over time. Although more studies are needed before a definitive conclusion can be made, so far those who played the game have shown significant improvement in their heart rates, which only shows that they are learning to regulate their emotions through practice.



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