This article addresses the newer trend in health and technology that is using video games to solve health problems, in this case autism. Particularly with autism, this seems to be a very viable way to attempt to improve children’s certain skills in the real world, because “boys with autism spend almost twice as much time playing video games as typical boys do” and they already enjoy these types of games. As Micah Mazurek, Professor of education at the University of Virginia explained, “we are finding that kids with autism are especially drawn to technology,” Mazurek says, “why not try to leverage that interest to design interventions?”
Well, for one they have found that some of these games that promote things like “reduced cognitive impairment associated with health conditions”, have largely been falsely advertising their products. For example Lumos Labs received a $2 million fine in 2016 for this. Another issue is that the gaming industry typically works with bigger budgets a shorter timeline, so the actual research is often cut short. And even when companies do discover a game or technology that does help with things just as Autism, they are often poorly maintained or kept up to date.
The idea of improving social skills with video games sounds oxy-moronic in that way that you are telling kids to sit down alone and stare at a screen in order to help with real time social interactions later, which is why the article says that the developers of these games are trying to make them entertaining, but not too entertaining. While the developers are aware of this, this pattern of being addicted to video games is a distinguishing characteristic of children with autism, so is it really possible to achieve a level of “not too entertaining” that could make children want to play these games only “the right amount?”. Could these science based video games be encouraging more video-game addicted behavior that developers can’t help?