Do active video games benefit the motor skill development of non-typically developing children and adolescents: A systematic review

Zoey E Page, Stephanie Barrington, Jacqueline Edwards, Lisa M Barnett
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 2017, 20 (12): 1087-1100

OBJECTIVES: The use of interactive video gaming, known as 'exergames' or 'active video games (AVG)' may provide an opportunity for motor skill development. Youth with non-typical patterns of development may have deficits in gross motor skill capacities and are therefore an intervention target. The aim was to determine the effectiveness of AVG use on motor skill development in non-typically developing children and adolescents.

DESIGN: Review article.

METHODS: The PRISMA protocol was used to conduct a systematic review of EBSCOhost, Embase, Gale Cengage, Informit, Ovid, ProQuest, PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science databases. A total of 19 articles met inclusion criteria (non-typically developing participants such as those with a learning or developmental delay aged 3-18, use of an AVG console, assessed one or more gross motor skills). Studies were excluded if gross motor skill outcomes encompassed fine motor skills or reflected mobility related to daily living.

RESULTS: Interventions included children and adolescents with eight different conditions. The Nintendo Wii was the most utilised gaming platform (14/19 studies). Studies examined a combination of skills, with most examining balance (15/19), five studies examining ball skills, and other gross motor skills such as coordination (3 studies), running (3 studies) and jumping (3 studies). There was strong evidence that AVG's improved balance. AVG's also appeared to benefit participants with Cerebral Palsy.

CONCLUSIONS: AVG's could be a valuable tool to improve gross motor skills of non-typically developing children. There is scope for further exploration, particularly of ball, coordination and locomotor skills and varying platforms to draw more conclusive evaluations.


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