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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Video Games Can Be Dangerous

There is hardly a household with children in America that does not have a video game console. In most cases they are not a big deal, most kids play for a couple hours a day or a week, but, in some cases there are kids and adults whose free time is entirely consumed by gaming. There are people who spend hundreds even thousands of hours a year in front of their computers playing games like World of Warcraft, every other aspect of their life is put on the back burner in order to continue play. Gaming addiction is not just a problem in America, it is a problem all over the world, kids and young adults; often times the problem begins affecting one's schooling which can lead to depression, those are the early warning signs that there may be a problem.

According to a new study in the February 2011 issue of Pediatrics (published online January 17), there may be identifiable risk factors for becoming a problem gamer and suffering negative outcomes, "Pathological Video Game Use Among Youths: A Two-Year Longitudinal Study". More than 3,000 children in elementary and secondary school in Singapore took part in the study. Researchers assessed pathological gaming by looking at:

  • weekly amount of game play
  • impulsiveness
  • social competence
  • depression
  • social phobia
  • anxiety
  • depression

Those found to have a pathological gaming problem were similar to other countries - about 9 percent of young gamers. "Children and teens who played more video games and who had lower social competence and greater impulsiveness were at higher risk of becoming pathological gamers". Gaming in many cases has become a coping strategy for children who are already depressed or anxious. The study authors suggest playing video games can also increase some mental health problems.

The authors identified depression, anxiety, social phobias, and lower school performance as common problems associated with pathological gaming.

American Academy of Pediatrics
Medical News Today

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