UK & World News
Video Games Can Be Good For Kids, Says Study
Playing video games for just a few hours could do more for dyslexic children's reading skills than a whole year of traditional teaching, according to new research.
Children who played the Wii action game Rayman Raving Rabbids for as little as 12 hours significantly improved their reading speed and attention.
The results exceeded the achievements of children put on highly demanding reading programmes for their dyslexia.
The findings will be celebrated by children, but surprise parents who have struggled to limit their offspring's screen time.
Andrea Facoetti, of the University of Padua in Italy, said he "treated" children to 80-minute sessions of the game over nine days.
He said: "Action video games enhance many aspects of visual attention, mainly improving the extraction of information from the environment.
"Dyslexic children learned to orient and focus their attention more efficiently to extract the relevant information of a written word more rapidly."
The study, which was published in the journal Current Biology, supports the theory that visual attention deficits are at the root of dyslexia.
But Dr Facoetti said the findings do not mean children should be given a free rein with games consoles.
"They don't put us in a position to recommend playing video games without any control or supervision," he cautioned.
But the British Dyslexia Association called for more research on visual processing.
Chief executive Dr Kate Saunders said other factors - such as hearing the difference between similar letter sounds - can also cause problems for children with the condition.
"The BDA continues to advocate well structured, multi-sensory phonics specialist teaching interventions, with specific teaching of reading rules and pattern," she said.