Recently, NSW Department of Education blocked the website "coolmathgames.com". This website hosted a variety of fun, educational activities which helped to decrease the stress levels felt in students nationwide. Based on the OECD average, 67% of Australian students report feeling very anxious even if well prepared for a test, compared to the international average of 56%. (https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/are-students-happy_3512d7ae-en#.Wl51C5NdI00#page1)
A study was done by Michael Rupp, a doctoral student in human factors and cognitive psychology at the University of Central Florida called "Searching for Affective and Cognitive Restoration: Examining the Restorative Effects of Casual Video Game Play". In this experiment, a computer-based task was used to induce cognitive fatigue in 66 participants, who were then given a five-minute rest break. During the break, participants either played a casual video game called Sushi Cat, participated in a guided relaxation activity, or sat quietly in the testing room without using a phone or computer. At various times throughout the experiment, the researchers measured participants' effect (e.g., stress level, mood) and cognitive performance.
Those who took a silent rest break reported that they felt less engaged with work and experienced worry as a result, whereas those who participated in the guided relaxation activity saw slight reductions in negative affect and distress. Only the video game players reported that they felt better after taking the break. (http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0018720817715360)
Furthermore, a study done in collaboration between the Australian Catholic University (ACU) National team headed by Dr. Toni Noble and Erebus International team headed by Dr. Tim Wyatt, proved that stress was directly linked to a decrease in academic results in students. (https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/scoping_study_into_approaches_to_student_wellbeing_final_report.pdf)
In the 67 percent of young people in grades seven to twelve who reported feeling moderately to extremely stressed over exams, the top source of pressure comes from themselves and coping with stress is a top issue of concern to young people (https://www.missionaustralia.com.au/what-we-do/research-evaluation/youth-survey).
By blocking this website and others like it, the ability for students to release stress in a healthy way is reduced. This could have a negative impact on student's academic results, general wellbeing and outlook on their education. There are large amounts of information proving that the use of casual video games greatly reduces stress and that stress is strongly linked with decreased academic ability.
I hope with this information the right choice can be made for all student's academic abilities as well as their general wellbeing by unblocking Coolmathgames.