And no, I’m not kidding.
A pilot study, conducted in Boston Children’s Hospital, has shown that kids with anger problems had reduced anger scores after playing a video game called RAGE Control, for only 5 times.
Although it sounds rather absurd to teach children a life skill such as calming down through technology, there is absolutely nothing unnatural about this new-found method.
I know you need proof to believe me, so let me help you understand.
Researchers worked with children, aged 9 to 17, who had high levels of anger and normal I.Q levels. The latter was then divided into 2 groups.
Both groups were given standard anger treatments (e.g. social skills training, relaxation techniques, and cognitive-behavioral therapy) for a total of 5 business days.
However, the first group was allowed to play the video game for 15 minutes each day, as part of their treatment.
The game is a classic and simple shooting game that requires players to shoot at enemy spaceships.
But, there’s nothing simple about what comes next.
While playing, a finger monitor kept track of a participant’s heart rate, which was displayed on the computer screen.
Whenever the player’s heart rate went up, he was unable to shoot. This meant that players had to lower their heart rate–by calming down–to win. If not, they risked losing.
And really, what kid wants to lose?
The game actually uses the old positive reinforcement trick wrapped in a fun package. If a child wants to win, he has to calm himself down.
There are two additional benefits here. The game…
- Encourages the real-life application of self-regulation, and
- Provides an effective solution to this problem: children refusing to attend psychotherapy sessions to help them curb anger
Now do you believe me?
I could only hope so.
Although you won’t see me encouraging parents to let children play video games (click here to find out why), I have no qualms about recommending this particular video game. That’s if it ever arrives in the Philippines.
After all, RAGE Control flawlessly integrates two things I truly believe in: positive reinforcement and teaching kids how to regulate emotions in a FUN manner.