The upside to kids, video games and TV

Posted By: Mike Toth · 5/27/2014 8:03:00 AM

One of the big stories NEWSTALK 1010 covered recently?
A new study stating Canadian kids don't get enough exercise; that they sit around watching too much television and playing too many video games.
But there's a different side to that.
Another recent story making the news?
11-year old American Lucy Li becoming the youngest golfer to ever qualiy for the U.S. Women's Open, which goes next month at Pinehurst in North Carolina. A gentleman named Jim McLean is Li's coach and he says watching TV and playing video games is actually one of the big reasons Li is such a good little golfer. In the modern world, every pro golf tournament is on the tube and MacLean says Li watches all the good players and copies their swing mechanics; something that makes a lot of sense because kids are excellent mimics. Video games, meanwhile, can actually sharpen your hand-eye coordination and the combination of TV and video means today's young athletes have a much better understanding of the various strategies that go into a specific sport. Playing Tiger Woods' video game, for instance, has helped Li with things such as yardage and club selection.

My 6-year old isn't prepping for the U.S. Open, but he is a pretty good baseball player and he definitely copies what he sees from watching ball games on TV and playing Major League '14.  Brett Lawrie of the Toronto Blue Jays is my lad's favorite player and it's funny to watch him copy Lawrie's batting stance and practice swing when he steps up to the Little League plate.

Hopefully, he won't copy Lawrie's penchant for covering his body in tatoo's - I'm not a big tatoo guy.

But hey!

If he tattoo's a baseball like Lawrie, watching a few ball games on the tube and playing some video games can't be all bad.

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  1. Greg Aucoin posted on 05/29/2014 08:17 AM
    Mike, you bring up an interesting perspectives, but the Lucy Li's of the world are truly the rare exception. A miniscule percentage of kids that spend their free time watching television and playing video games will become athletic. An even smaller percentage will replicate Lucy Li's accomplishments. I agree that there is some value in playing video games as it relates to eye hand coordination, but when you look at the bigger picture, there are so many more negatives to our children's overall long term health when they spend the inordinate amount of time they currently do, sitting in front of the tube or computer screen.
    1. mike toth posted on 05/29/2014 05:33 PM
      @Greg Aucoin Greg, You're absolutely right. Too much of anything isn't good, and TV and video games are obviously no exception. When we were kids, most of us organized our own "play time", including sandlot baseball and football games, and street hockey tilts with our buddies. Sadly, most kids sports are now supervised by adults, and creative play is really lacking. TV and Video? Solid teaching aids to augment a young athlete's sports prowess. However, as you said, nothing replaces the real thing.
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