“Focus on real experiences vs. screen experiences.”
There are good reasons for these guidelines.
But what about kids who spend long periods of time in hospital rooms, cut off from friends and peers? What about teens who crave even a small sense of normalcy – average teen activities, and even ways to interact with other teens from within the confines of their hospital room? Can “screens” actually be a lifeline in these situations?
During long holidays and snow days, it’s tempting to use the time playing video games. With online players in different time zones, the urge is strong to play for hours and hours. But doctors warn of a health risk of playing too long in the virtual landscape: gamers thrombosis.
“Gaming can be distracting and the hours can just melt away,” says Dr. Kronick. “Prolonged sitting is a risk factor for developing venothromboembolic disease or blood clots. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting on a very long air flight or on your living room couch. It’s the same mechanism.”
Being in the hospital is a little more fun for kids at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, thanks in part to the generous support of Gamers Outreach Foundation and the Mott Family Network. And, it’s about to get even more fun!
Gamers Outreach was founded by 25-year-old Zach Wigal. When Zach was in high school, he enjoyed a wide variety of activities, but playing video games was a favorite. So much so that he decided to organize a video game tournament in his hometown of Saline, Mich. Part of his goal was to have fun, but the other part was to help dispel the negative connotation that often accompanies gaming. More than 300 people registered for that first tournament and the event raised $4,000 for the Autism Society of America. It was through that event that Gamers Outreach Foundation was born.
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