In recent years, more and more studies have flooded us that prolonged exposure to screens can produce developmental delays in children. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find parents who are afraid to seat their children in front of a game console, which can make them concentrate for long hours in front of the screen and make them forget the outside world. But what if we reveal to you that if you expose your children for a limited period of time, it can actually benefit and improve the child’s abilities?
Such a special project is currently underway in the ultra-Orthodox city of Elad. Not exactly the first place that comes to mind when saying the word “XBOX”, but the results on the ground show that it works. Zohar Oren, an occupational therapist at the new Caro Clinic of Clalit Health Services in the city of Elad, allows the young children who come to the clinic to play with the Kinect camera and VR games, thus improving their abilities.
“In fact, the use of VR has been around for a long time, but mainly in adult therapies. A few years ago they decided to try and incorporate it in working with children not only in the rehabilitative aspect but also in the developmental aspect. I chose XBOX because it cannot be cheated. In other consoles “You can only use the hand, but not the Xbox. The Kinect forces you to activate the whole body. The difficulty was finding games, also because Microsoft stopped the development of the Kinect, so we were stuck with a limited number of games,” says Zohar, who is currently moving to Clalit’s new complex , Which will bring together all the medical services offered by the HMO, including a child development center that has already begun its activities.
Zohar explains that even before the world of technological games, children would undergo occupational therapy with the help of other games, but with the Xbox, the therapist has the option to analyze the problems faster and formulate the treatment method: “Once you take a device Just a game, you can really see what parts the child is working on – reaction delay, power regulation, etc., which are answered in an unusual way and the children connect to it. “Adventures that force the child to move. If he does it right, after a few minutes he gets tired, and so he does not stay ‘stuck’ for hours in front of the screen.”
“I myself warn parents against overusing screens, it’s really unhealthy, but it can not be ignored that the current generation is already where the screen is needed. So if already, we will use it to help them develop. If we take for example children who are afraid to participate in playgrounds “So after 3-4 such sessions, there were parents who already reported that the child joined the games and participated like everyone else. Even if you do not necessarily see an immediate improvement in jumping or running ability, there is an improvement in his desire to experience games in the real world.”
Although Zohar treats children up to the age of 9, he only starts the possibility of kinect games from the age of 5: “Below that it is more difficult for them. The treatment is built like any other occupational therapy, with all the traditional tools and games, “They are given the opportunity to play Xbox at the end of each treatment and the effect is seen almost immediately.”
According to Zohar, there is no difference between the ultra-Orthodox and the secular patients, despite the technological gap that can be imagined. “The advantage of the console is that you can build a character from scratch. So boys give a character of Ben and the problem is solved, really you can control everything. There were also parents who refused, but few. There were more cases of parents who after seeing the eye care, they searched .
So how does this actually happen? Take for example a game that simulates a messenger race. According to Zohar, the child will have to raise his knees in front of the camera to a certain height, in order for the character to start running. If he fails, or gets lazy, the character will go. If he does not jump to a sufficient height, his character will get stuck in an obstacle and fall. “The feedback is actually right in front of the child’s eyes. His desire to succeed helps him move faster.”
And it did not stop there: “There was a patient who came with a number of difficulties, including difficulty writing, weight problems and emotional problems. Working in front of the Xbox motivated him to try things he was afraid of before. For example the subject of writing – he refused to write in class, so to play, he was “He had to sit down and write the instructions of the game beforehand. He wanted to play so he sat down to write. He saw that he was writing and succeeding and that the world was not collapsing and it progressed from there.
As mentioned, Zohar is currently moving to a new clinic, also in Elad, which will concentrate all Clalit’s child care services, including communication clinics, physiotherapy, child psychologist, child social worker, doctor specializing in child development and of course occupational therapy alongside the Child Development Center. The Caro Clinic already has family and pediatric services today, and in the future it will also include a spacious pharmacy and a women’s health center. Upon completion, it is expected to be Clalit’s largest medical center in the country for the ultra-Orthodox sector, in order to facilitate their treatments by concentrating them under one structure.
In the new location, Zohar was given a larger area so that he could reach the full potential of the treatment using the Xbox.
Like every element in our lives in the last two years, the corona has played a role in this issue as well. “When I went to present the idea to the decision makers, I explained that apart from the treatment, the console would also help children who are locked in isolation and isolation at home not to get bored and neglect their treatment. “They raised an eyebrow, but confirmed and we started doing it in Elad. The ultra-Orthodox parents also raised an eyebrow at first, but when they saw the effect and realized how much it helps the child, the fear was removed and we were able to do amazing things,” Zohar concluded.