Active video games are often thought to be an easy way to move around while having fun with your family or friends. Some people think that they are a good solution for children who do not get enough physical activity.
The opposite is true! According to a study by Active Healthy Kids Canada, active video games may not be as beneficial as we think! In fact, they are not recommended because:
- They do not increase children’s daily physical activity level.
- They do not contribute to attaining the recommended amount of daily physical activity (180 minutes for children aged 1 to 4 and 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity for children aged 5 and over).
- They do not increase the heart rate enough.
- They do not offer the connection with nature, vitamin D, fresh air, and social interaction that come with outdoor activities and active play.
Although they may be a good way of reducing the time spent sitting in front of the television, tablet, or computer, active video games are not as beneficial as real activities, games, and/or sports.
Should they be banned?
Not necessarily, according to experts, but they should not be viewed as a replacement for physical activity and, above all, the maximum recommended daily screen time of less than an hour a day for children aged 2 to 4 and no more than 2 hours a day for children 5 or older should not be exceeded.
Active Healthy Kids Canada, « Active Healthy Kids Canada’s Position on Active Video Games », November 2012, http://www.activehealthykids.ca/active-video-games-position.aspx
Kim Brunhuber, « Active video games discouraged by child fitness experts », CBC News, November 26, 2012, http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/active-video-games-discouraged-by-child-fitness-experts-1.1278445
Canadian Obesity Network, « Active video games don’t increase overall daily physical activity levels », http://www.obesitynetwork.ca/de.aspx?id=319