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The impact of technology on children's physical activity
The impact of technology on children's physical activity

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5 Active gaming: a positive side to screen time?

Despite the negative links with obesity and physical activity, there are changes in the way in which children are spending their screen time, which can be far from sedentary. For example, in 2016, ‘Pokémon GO’ (see Box 1) was the latest craze that got children and adults more active. With the development of health and fitness-related apps, there is the potential that screen time will not necessarily always be sedentary.

Box 1 What is Pokémon GO?

Described image
Figure 5 Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO is built on Niantic’s Real World Gaming Platform. It uses real locations to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world for the various Pokémon species. Pokémon GO allows you to find and catch more than a hundred species of Pokémon as you explore your surroundings.

(Pokémon GO, 2016)

Likewise, changes in the technology of games consoles have also seen a rise in active video games and ‘exergaming’ (technology-driven physical activity). Surrounding this development is a growing wealth of academic literature looking at the use of active video games to help address the falling levels of physical activity in children.

Activity 5 Active video gaming

Part 1

Watch the video ‘Active video gaming helps fight obesity’, below, which includes a summary of a study that used active video games as part of a children’s weight management programme.

Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Discussion

The research shown in the video showed that active video gaming can have positive effects on physical activity levels when included as part of an intervention to assist weight loss. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that active gaming will elicit positive results in general for weight loss or improving children’s physical activity levels.

So far you have focused on screen time, but next you will turn your attention to another new area of technological development: wearable technology.