In Hokkaido Prefecture in Northern Japan, the parent-teacher’s association and Board of Education are readying for their first “No Video Game Day”, which are set for the first and third Sundays in February. And as test scores in the prefecture limbo lower and with new concerns over the danger of sitting rising, the parents may have good reason to ban the digital distractions, for a day.
According to a study conducted by NPD Group, the average time spent playing video games has increased over 57 per cent to about two hours per day versus just one hour in 2012. In conjunction with more and more studies testifying to how bad sitting is for you, video gaming could become a hazardous hobby for your health.
In one study, it was found that those who had greater than two hours of screen/sitting time had a nearly 50 per cent increased risk of death from any cause and a 125 per cent increase risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, i.e. chest paints or heart attack.
According to video gaming website Kotaku, this “No Video Game Day” is part of a movement that aims to bring healthy habits to children who are either sitting at their computers playing games or on the Internet chatting with their friends all day.
On these days off, children are encouraged to spend time with their families, read books, or take part in activities outside.
Although a “No Video Game Day” might sound a bit extreme, in the past game developers have also tried to get on board with getting their players to go outside. Boktai, developed by Konami, was released on the Gameboy Advance in 2003 and featured a solar panel that played a big part in the game.
The idea was to get kids to go outdoors and enjoy the sunlight while playing. The problem was that the Gameboy Advance’s screen didn’t handle sun glare too well and players soon discovered by using a black light, they could get the same effect as standing five feet away from the sun.
Another example was Nintendo’s Wii Fit and Wii Sports that help people exercise at home. A report presented by the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2009 showed that playing active video games could equal moderate intensity exercises.
It might be tough for kids to go cold turkey on games, but it could lead to a healthier life, which will let them play more in the long run. However, let’s not forget that adults play video games too and they’ll have to take part in the “No Video Game Day” as well.