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According to a new study, over 23 percent of kids believe playing Call of Duty, Halo, and other video games is exercise. Yes, the public school type of exercise that includes running and sports. Though, a kid that plays video games cannot for multiple hours day cannot be considered “active,” one would think.
During the study, researchers found that the term “active” now does not have the normal, apparently classical, definition that most would be familiar with today. They discovered that an unbelievably large portion of kids think playing video games counts has engaging in active play.
The study, which was conducted by the British organization Youth Sports Trust, polled 1,000 youths between the ages of five and 16, asking them questions regarding their daily use of video games and how often they the socially interact with their friends. The analysis found that 31 percent of children between seven and eight years old were most likely to believe that playing video games counts as exercise, while 15-year-olds and 16-year-olds only registered 15 percent when asked.
Why would such a large amount of children think playing games is exercise? It could be the fact that being active looks different to children today than it does to older generations and even young adults.
When adults, specifically those who are young enough to be closest to the age groups in the study, yet do not fall into the 23 percent, engage in active things it typically involves physical activity. Even if this means walking to a friend’s house or strolling around downtown, it is still considered being active.
Moreover, when people are out and about they usually have some sort of social interaction, such as paying the cashier at the coffee shop or saying hello the mailman as they pass by their apartment. It is things like this that make people feel they are in the real world.
With both teens and pre-teens, however, the story is much different. The study revealed that at least one-third of all children polled interact with their friends more via social media than in the real world.
Within the last decade, the number of children under the age of 16 using social media to communicate with their friends has skyrocketed. Instead of walking to a friends house or playing basketball in the park, more children are now in front of the screens of their TV, tablet, and smartphone.
Nonetheless, the study found that 75 percent of children still enjoy physical education classes, which is good, all hope in a physically-fit species is not lost yet. This may mean that it is not that social media and video games that have taken place of social interactions, but that the platform for communicating has been digitized for a large fraction of children.
In the end, the study found that the integration of technology with children’s lives cannot be stopped, and it is imperative that parents and others to find a way to combine tech and video games with physical exercise. Moreover, doctors could possibly learn from this tech boom in exercise by incorporating it into specialized programs for those who are not motivated to be physically active.
Opinion by Alex Lemieux
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Photo Courtesy of Rodrigo Della Fávera’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License