Here we review 18 articles that describe the design and evaluation of 1 or more games for diabetes from technical, methodological, and theoretical perspectives. We undertook searches covering the period 2010 to May 2015 in the ACM, IEEE, Journal of Medical Internet Research, Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, and Google Scholar online databases using the keywords “children,” “computer games,” “diabetes,” “games,” “type 1,” and “type 2” in various Boolean combinations. The review sets out to establish, for future research, an understanding of the current landscape of digital games designed for children with diabetes. We briefly explored the use and impact of well-established learning theories in such games. The most frequently mentioned theoretical frameworks were social cognitive theory and social constructivism. Due to the limitations of the reported evaluation methodologies, little evidence was found to support the strong promise of games for diabetes. Furthermore, we could not establish a relation between design features and the game outcomes. We argue that an in-depth discussion about the extent to which learning theories could and should be manifested in the design decisions is required.
Childhood diabetes, which presents when the child’s body either produces insufficient insulin to convert the glucose in the body into usable energy or the insulin that is produced is ineffective for the task, is a significant problem. More than 79 000 children under 15 years are estimated to develop type 1 diabetes annually worldwide, while the total worldwide incidence is estimated to be almost half a million. The number of children with type 2 diabetes is more difficult to gauge. However, the global rise of childhood obesity suggests that there might be a hidden worldwide epidemic of type 2 diabetes among children and young people.
In the field of education, computer games have been suggested as a medium to deliver effective pedagogy, one that exploits the interests and experiences of the young people to whom they are targeted and thus leads to better learning, especially for children with additional needs. Educational games aim to leverage the affordances of entertainment games, many of which encourage persistence, risk taking, attention to detail, and problem solving skills; and well-designed educational games can enable players to actively construct understanding at their own pace. Computer games designed to support learning, it is argued, have many advantages, and could be especially important for children with diabetes because diabetes, if not well controlled, can be life-threatening.
For children with diabetes, well-designed computer games could offer a risk-free space in which to test and explore different scenarios for food consumption and insulin production, find out the latest natures boost blood boost formula reviews. They could also offer an alternative fun and engaging way to teach newly diagnosed patients about necessary routines or to motivate them, by means of game techniques such as awarding points, to maintain those routines and thus achieve a healthy life style. In any event, developing games for children with diabetes is an interdisciplinary task that encompasses knowledge from learning research, game design, human-computer interaction, medicine, health education, and nutrition.