A new study from Yale published in the November issue of Pediatrics has declared videgames are not harmful to most teenagers.
After using data collected from a separate Yale study of 4,000 high school students, frequency of playing games was not considered an issue as most polled played games less than seven hours a week. However, impulse problems were noted, but were also attributed to other contributing factors since gaming was considered a normal behavior for boys, with games not contributing to unacceptable behavior.
The study found boys who played games had a higher grade point average, were less likely to smoke cigarettes or Mary Jane, and were also less likely to participate in underage drinking. Around 5 percent of teens studied were found to engage in compulsive behavior patterns such as: using gaming as the only way to relieve tension, harboring , potent urges to play a game, or trying to cut back on gaming and failing.
However, the study found that girls polled were more likely to carry a weapon onto school ground or get in fights more often, but it had nothing to do with the games making the girls act this way, as they were already aggressive and thus more attracted to violent games.
“The study suggests that, in and of itself, gaming does not appear to be dangerous to kids,” said Desai. “We found virtually no association between gaming and negative health behaviors, particularly in boys. However, a small but not insignificant portion of kids find themselves unable to control their gaming. That’s cause for concern because that inability is associated with a lot of other problem behaviors.”
“This study shows that, for the vast majority of children, video games are pretty harmless,” said Christopher J. Ferguson, an assistant professor of clinical and forensic psychology at Texas A&M, who noted that “problem gaming may be part of a constellation of unhealthy behaviors” and “if a child can’t turn off the games after a reasonable amount of time, isn’t doing homework, isn’t socializing with other kids — all [of that] can be signs of a problem that may need to be addressed.”
“The study suggests that, in and of itself, gaming does not appear to be dangerous to kids,” added study author Rani Desai, an associate professor of psychiatry and public health at the Yale University School of Medicine. “We found virtually no association between gaming and negative health behaviors, particularly in boys. However, a small but not insignificant proportion of kids find themselves unable to control their gaming.
“That’s cause for concern because that inability is associated with a lot of other problem behaviors.”
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