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A research funded by the EU tests the reliability of Video Games for children to diagnose their skills such as stress control, decision-making, emotional recognition and tolerance. Throughout a game, the app records the child’s responses in order to flag behavioural issues.

The app such as GOMINS also uses artificial intelligence to assess the child’s facial expressions as they play the game, which are captured through the camera on the mobile device. The results appear in the parents’ part of the app and are double-checked against a questionnaire for parents about their child’s behaviour.

The app, which is designed to be used in the child’s normal environment, is not intended to replace psychological diagnoses, but can be a simple way of carrying out an initial screening. As part of the development, it was tested in a clinical setting to compare its ability to detect emotional problems with professional methods.

With each problem the cild has to solve comes a mission designed to improve that behaviour. Parents and their children are set tasks including practical activities and family games that last from seven to 20 days that focus on specific goals. With impulse control, for example, the aim is to learn patience or the importance of stopping and thinking.

A further trial of the app’s reliability will be carried out in December 2018 to test the effect of the facial expression analysis. While a beta version of the app in Spanish and English is already available online, the plan is for it to be further improved before it is rolled out and marketed more widely, probably in 2019.