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Researchers Develop Video Game to Reduce Stress, Anger in Children

Researchers Develop Video Game to Reduce Stress, Anger in Children

Thursday, 14 October, 2021 - 04:15
A boy plays a game on a phone on a street in Shanghai, China August 31, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song

A research team at the Boston Children's Hospital has developed a video game aimed at training children to regulate their heart rate during fast gaming sessions, and help them control their anger and stress, according to the German News Agency.

The study published in the journal Frontiers of Psychiatry, noted that this game would reduce the need for psychiatric medications and help children and teens who cannot immediately access psychotherapy.

The game, called "Regulate and Gain Emotional Control," was developed at Boston Children's Hospital about a decade ago. It trains kids to stay calm during stressful or frustrating situations.

In the game, players try to shoot virtual asteroids while avoiding friendly craft, while a pulse oximeter on their wrist monitors their heart rate.

If they remain calm and keep their heart rate down, they do better in the game. If their heart rate goes too high, they lose their ability to shoot.

"Emotions like anger and anxiety that increase arousal also increase heart rate. Techniques that bring the heart rate down, like taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, are calming," Joseph Gonzalez-Heydrich, a senior attending psychiatrist at Boston Children's Hospital told the Medical Xpress website.

"So we hypothesized that if children learned techniques to lower their heart rate and thus their arousal while playing a challenging game, then they would be able to use these techniques during conflicts at home and school," he added.

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