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'Gaming' Sends Boys' Test Scores Sliding
Date:3/17/2010

Study finds they spend less time on academics with video-game systems at home

WEDNESDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- New research shows that young boys who own a video game system don't do as well academically as their non-playing peers, suggesting that time spent playing video games is supplanting time spent on homework.

Study author Robert Weis, an associate professor of psychology at Denison University in Ohio, said that "we can never say with 100 percent certainty that it's playing video games that causes kids to have delays or deficits in reading and writing performance, but ... we can be pretty confident that it's the game ownership and the amount of time they spend playing that causes these academic delays."

Another expert agreed.

"It's a zero-sum thing. There's only so much time you can give to certain activities, and the more you spend with video games, the more likely you will not progress in academic achievement," explained Alan Delamater, director of clinical psychology at the Mailman Center for Child Development at the University of Miami.

The study, published online and in the April issue of Psychological Science, involved 64 boys between the ages of 6 and 9 whose families did not yet own a video game system but had been thinking about purchasing one.

All of the boys took reading, writing and math tests at the beginning of the study and then either received a video game system plus three games immediately or in four months, after the study was completed.

Boys who received and started playing video games right away spent less time doing homework and other after-school academic activities than the boys without video game systems, the study found.

They also did not do as well on follow-up reading and writing tests, although no difference between the groups was found in the math scores.

There were no behavioral changes reported, and all scores stil
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