NPR reports that In Silicon Valley, a $20 billion industry is analyizing kids–observing, measuring and sorting data–to develop screen games to teach kids how to navigate interpersonal challenges and failures. Can it work? The fun factor may give it a marketing edge, but Dr. Steiner-Adair warns that what’s best for the game industry’s bottom line isn’t always what’s best for kids.


But Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist at Harvard and author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age, is concerned that kids and their parents already spend too much time on devices. “Nothing — no new app, no new game — can replace the old truth, I think, that children thrive, that families thrive, in the context of healthy real-life relationships,” she says. Still, Steiner-Adair says, a game that helps kids practice skills like listening and working through difficult emotions might be useful if it’s played in moderation. “I am cautious, but I am guardedly optimistic that there could be some kind of computer game that could strengthen children’s social and emotional intelligence,” she says.


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