A video game can be an effective medium to teach children about the signs of stroke so that they can call emergency services in case they see someone facing the problem, says a study.
A study showed that after watching a 15-minute stroke education video game, children exhibited better awareness and knowledge regarding stroke and also understood the need to call an emergency service when required. Not only this, the information also stayed with them for up to seven weeks.
For the study, 200 children aged 9 to 12 years were made to live in a society which comprised many people who fell under high-risk category for stroke. They were made to watch a 15-minute stroke education video game called Stroke Hero. Immediately before and after the video game, they were tested about their knowledge of stroke symptoms and were also asked to play the game at home.
Seven weeks later, the children were tested and they were 33 per cent more likely to identify the stroke symptoms and dial emergency number 911. Compared to children who played the game just once, children who also played the video at home had 18 per cent more chances to identify balance problems as a symptom of stroke.
As part of the video game, children were made to navigate a spaceship through an artery and shoot down blood clots. Further, they had to answer stroke awareness questions and in case their answer was wrong, they were told about the correct one.
"We need to educate the public, including children, about stroke, because often it's the witness that makes that 911 call, not the stroke victim," study researcher Dr. Olajide Williams, an associate professor of neurology at Columbia University, said, adding, "Sometimes, these witnesses are young children."
Today video games are accessible to most of the children and those aged 8-12 years spends about 13 hours a week playing video games.