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Appropriate Play Time on Video Games

Appropriate Play Time on Video Games

New research indicates that playing video games for a limited amount of time each week may provide benefits to children, but too much can be detrimental.

The issue is important as parents are learning that some evidence suggests excessive video game play may harm a child, yet conflicting evidence suggests playing video games can improve learning as well as being fun.

To provide some clarity, on the debate over potential benefits and risks, Jesus Pujol, M.D., of the Hospital del Mar in Spain, and his colleagues investigated the relationship between weekly video game use and certain cognitive abilities and conduct-related problems.

In their study of 2442 children aged seven to 11 years, the researchers found that playing video games for one hour per week was associated with better motor skills and higher school achievement scores. However, no further benefits were observed in children playing more than two hours each week.

The team also found that weekly time spent gaming was steadily linked with conduct problems, peer conflicts, and reduced social abilities, with such negative effects being especially prominent in children who played nine or more hours of video games each week.

“Video gaming per se is neither good nor bad, but its level of use makes it so,” said Dr. Pujol.

When the investigators looked at magnetic resonance imaging scans of the brains of a subgroup of children in the study, they noted that gaming was linked with changes in basal ganglia white matter and functional connectivity.

“Gaming use was associated with better function in brain circuits critical for learning based on the acquisition of new skills through practice,” Dr. Pujol explained.

“Children traditionally acquire motor skills through action, for instance in relation to sports and outdoor games. Neuroimaging research now suggests that training with desktop virtual environments is also capable of modulating brain systems that support motor skill learning.”

The findings are published in theĀ Annals of Neurology.

Source: Wiley/EurekAlert

Appropriate Play Time on Video Games

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). Appropriate Play Time on Video Games. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2016/10/14/appropriate-play-time-on-video-games/111134.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Oct 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Oct 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.