Playing video games may mean spending less time reading or
doing homework, according to new research on video games and children.
That news appears in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent
Data came from diaries completed by nearly 1,500 U.S. kids and teens aged
10-19 during the 2002-2003 school year.
In the diaries, participants accounted for how they spent their time. They
kept the diaries twice -- once on a randomly chosen weekday and once on a
randomly chosen Saturday or Sunday.
More than a third of the group -- 36% -- reported playing video games. Most
of the video game players -- 80% -- were boys.
"Compared with nongamers, adolescent gamers spent 30% less time reading
and 34% less time doing homework," write researchers Hope Cummings, MA, and
Elizabeth Vandewater, PhD.
Cummings works in the University of Michigan's department of communications
studies. Vandewater works for the University of Texas at Austin's Center for
Research on Interactive Technology, Television, and Children.
Time Playing Video Games
Gamers played video games for an hour on the weekdays and 1.5 hours on
weekend days on average.
Boys tended to spend more time than girls playing video games.
"Female gamers spent an average of 44 minutes playing on the weekdays
and one hour and four minutes playing on the weekends," write the
researchers. "Male gamers spent an average of 58 minutes playing on the
weekdays and one hour and 37 minutes playing on the weekends."B
Effect of Video Games on Kids' Time
The study shows that gamers and nongamers spend a similar amount of time
with their parents and friends. But schoolwork was another story.
"Although gamers and nongamers did not differ in the amount of time they
spent interacting with family and friends, concerns regarding gamers' neglect
of school responsibilities (reading and homework) are warranted," write
Cummings and Vandewater.
The study appears in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent
By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
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