Games in Healthcare

Game Aims to Ease the Fear of the Dental Chair

A Young Dental PatientNew Zealand dental psychologist Linda Jones has a project to create a computer video game to help kids relax at the dentist office. The game is being developed in collaboration with teams at Massey University and in the United Kingdom.

Currently titled Dental Jungle, the game will help diminish anxiety in fearful children, but also help pass the time for those who are not so scared. Jones has interviewed over 400 children across New Zealand to get their input on what the game should look like. The game which is still in development is expected to be available to dental professionals by 2011. Read More...

"You have to look at what technology kids are using and use what kids are interested in," Linda Jones said, in a news report. And that is computers, the dental psychologist concluded.

The game will also allow dentists to collect information on patient’s knowledge of dental hygiene, which Jones says is particularly poor in some children. It has received a $9000 grant from the New Zealand Ministry of Health's oral health research fund.

One test subject, Kaya Selby, a 6 year-old boy from Bell Block School gives positive feedback. He explains that if going to the dental clinic means he can play a computer game he would be "happy".

"I like this game," he said. "And I've got lots of computer games on my mum's computer."