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Video Games Invading Our Youth

July 27, 2010

 Video Games Invading our Youth

A new study has found that both viewing television and playing video games are linked with increased attention problems in youths. The research found that children who exceeded the two hours per day of screen time were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to be above average in attention problems.

Among elementary and middle-school populations, girls play for an average of about 5.5 hours/week and boys average 13 hours/week. Playing games is not limited to adolescent boys. Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that several companies are now designing video game consoles for preschoolers. Preschoolers aged two to five play an average of 28 minutes/day. The amount of time spent playing video games is increasing, but not at the expense of television viewing which has remained stable at about 24 hours/week.

“If we train the brain to require constant stimulation and constant flickering lights, changes in sound and camera angle, or immediate feedback, such as video games can provide, then when the child lands in the classroom where the teacher doesn’t have a million-dollar-per-episode budget, it may be hard to get children to sustain their attention.”  Douglas Gentile of ISU

Simply put, the amount of time spent playing video games has a negative correlation with academic performance.

 
Tips on managing your child’s media consumption
Because of the popularity of video games, completely eliminating them from your child’s life might be difficult. But you can decrease the negative impact that they have on your child. Here are a few tips:

  • Know the rating of the video games your child plays.
  • Do not install video game equipment in your child’s bedroom.
  • Set limits on how often and how long your child is allowed to play video games.
  • Monitor all of your child’s media consumption — video games, television, movies and Internet.
  • Supervise your child’s Internet use — there are now many “video games” available for playing online.
  • Take the time to discuss with your children the games they are playing or other media they are watching. Ask your children how they feel about what they observe in these video games, television programs or movies. This is an opportunity to share your feelings and grow closer with your child.
  • Share with other parents information about certain games or ideas for helping each other in parenting.

Further reading..

TV viewing, video game play linked to kids’ attention problems

The Impact of Video Games on Children

The effects of video games on children: what parents need to know

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