In a French study of 112 children aged 4-10 who were having a day surgery, the researchers found that computer games worked as well as drugs to help kids relax before their operations. Half of the kids were given a sedative before their anesthesia, while half were given an iPad loaded with games just twenthy minutes before going into surgery.
Then, the children, their parents and the surgery nurses were all asked questions. The answers to these questions showed that the iPads worked as well as the midazolam sedative did to help with anxiety. Even more significant, the parents and nurses were more satisfied with the children who had used the iPads than they were with the children given the sedative.
As researcher Dominique Chassard of the Hospices Civils de Lyon explains, “Our study showed that child and parental anxiety before anesthesia are equally blunted by midazolam or use of the iPad. Use of iPads or other tablet devices is a non-pharmacologic tool which can reduce stress without any sedative effect in paediatric surgery.”
Certainly, this information is helpful in terms of surgery. But it also indicates the power that technology can have over children; allowing them to zone out and become immersed in another world, of sorts.