The Mental Health

Literature Review: Impacts of Video Games on the Mental Health of Kids with AutismOver the years, pertinent research has suggested that violent video games can promoteantisocial and aggressive behavior in children (Zayeni, Raynaud, & Revet, 2020). However, benign video games such as the ones, which emphasize storytelling can benefit children with con-ditions that prevent them from effectively interacting with others. Children with autism fall intothis category. Autism is defined as a mental development disorder that results in a person havingchallenges communicating or socially interacting with others, in addition to having repetitive andrestricted behavior. This paper focuses on the current research about how video games affect themental health of kids with autism. The available research seems to suggest that there are certainvideo games, which can help children with autism to enhance their quality of life by helpingthem cope with their symptoms effectively.State of the ResearchAccording to Zayeni, Raynaud, and Revet (2020), the use of video games in the field ochild psychiatry has developed tremendously over the past decade. They note that these gameshave become effective alternatives to traditional psychotherapy techniques. To evaluate the effec-tiveness of these games in preventing or treating psychiatric problems in children, Zayeni, Ray-naud, and Revet (2020) carried out a study whereby they evaluated 22 studies from Medline’sdatabase, which were published between 2012 and 2019. 14 of them focused on serious gameswhile 8 focused on commercial games. Zayeni, Raynaud, and Revet (2020) concluded that eventhough video games can offer an effective trajectory of child psychotherapy, there is a need toconduct longitudinal research, which can reveal the sustained effects of the benefits gained fromthese games.An example of such games is called Mindlight. This game focuses on lowering anxiety inchildren. Since kids with autism experience anxiety regularly, Wijnhoven et al. (2015) carried outa study to investigate the effectiveness of Mindlight in reducing the anxiety-related symptoms inkids with autism. They conducted a randomized controlled trial with experimental and controlconditions. Each of these conditions had 60 children aged between 8 and 16 years. Wijnhoven eal. (2015) hypothesized that the children in the experimental condition would have reduced anxi-ety levels due to playing Mindlight each week.Edwards et al. (2017) also carried out a study to see if a sports-active video game could enhancethe object control skills of kids with autism. They investigated 11 children between the ages of 6and 10 years. From their results, they concluded that actual skills were not improved for both theintervention and control groups. However, they noted that perceived skills in the interventiongroup were improved. Finally, Beaumont et al. (2021) researched how a video game called Se-cret Agent Society (SAS) could enhance the social skills of kids with autism. Their experimentinvolved 70 children aged 7 to 12 years. 35 of the children were made to pay the SAS gamewhile the rest played a caregiver-supported game aimed at enhancing their social skills. Theirresults showed that the children who played the SAS video game showed more improvement intheir social skills compared to the control group.ConclusionThis literature review has focused on the current research about how video games affect the men-tal health of kids with autism. From the articles reviewed, it is clear that benign games greatlyimprove the kids’ social skills and reduce their anxiety. However, they do not enhance their actu-al skills relate to object control. Nevertheless, video games appear promising as a psychotherapyoption considering that standard psychotherapy is expensive for most parents. Finally, it is para-mount that more studies are done on the long-term effects of these games on the kids to evaluatethe sustainability of the games in helping kids with autism.

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