The social and physical video game experience

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The social and physical video game experience

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I used to be the most anti-video game person I knew, but today my feelings have changed a bit. I actually do see a silver lining to video games. The big change for me happened when video games went from completely sedentary, to being active. We have a whole generation that, for whatever reason, cannot get outside, get the exercise they need, and play. If their choice is sitting on the couch and watching a video game, and getting up and physically getting up and interacting with the video game; I'm going to choose the interactive video game. It's a great way to burn calories and get exercise. The other really interesting piece of data on video games is they are very social. They are not as isolating as they used to be. It used to be that you were playing a video game with your television or your computer. Now, kids network when they play video games. They communicate. They actually describe having a very social experience. They have avatars, which are video versions of themselves, where they can try on new personalities. So I always say to parents, "Would you rather your child be Goth in real life or Goth on their avatar on their video game?" Of course, you want them to try on those extreme personalities in a cartoon version of themselves. It's safer. Then they can let it go and go back to their normal selves in life. Even though I'm still not the greatest fan of video games, and I'd rather have kids outside playing; if the choice is sitting watching passively or being active and social and trying new personalities in a safe way; I'm fine with it.

View Cara Natterson, MD's video on The social and physical video game experience...

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Cara Natterson, MD

Pediatrician & Author

Cara Natterson, MD has treated thousands of children and guided their parents as well. She was a partner at Tenth Street Pediatrics in Santa Monica, California, a large group practice serving infants, children and teenagers. She now runs Worry Proof Consulting, the first of its kind pediatric practice that offers parents open-ended time to review everything from medical questions and biology basics to child development and parenting issues. Cara is also the author of several books on parenting and child health. She has a unique ability to translate cutting edge research into understandable terms for parents and their kids. More recently, Cara’s consulting has extended beyond individual families to include fortune 500 companies seeking expert advice on safety issues, child health, and crisis management.

Cara has appeared on television, in print, and on the web. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and she trained in pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco. Cara is a Board certified pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. And anyone who knows her knows that Cara is, by nature, one of the most risk-averse people on earth. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

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