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Too Much of Videogames Hampers Study Time in Children

Playing video games may mean spending less time reading or doing homework, according to a new research on video games and children.

Teenagers who play videogames spent 30 percent less time reading and 34 percent less time doing homework, said the study by researchers at the University of Michigan and University of Texas published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

However the authors added that video games did not appear to hamper the time spent with family and friends.

"Gamers did spend less time reading and doing homework. But they didn't spend less time interacting with their parents or their friends, nor did they spend less time in sports or active leisure activities," quoted Hope Cummings, one of two researchers who carried out the study, as saying.

Cummings and Elizabeth Vandewater at the University of Texas at Austin, US, wanted to observe how these games might influence academics and social relationships.

They gathered data from a sample of children aged 10 to 19 who tracked their activities on a random weekday and a random weekend day. Of the 1,491 who participated, 534 or about 36 percent played video games.

Eighty percent of those who played videogames were males, and they spent more time playing the games than their female counterparts.

Boys spent an average of 58 minutes per day during the week and one hour 37 minutes on weekends playing videogames, compared with girls who played for 44 minutes per day during the week and one hour and one minute on the weekends.

The boys tended to spend less time reading and girls tended to spend less time doing homework, the study said.

"The reading was just for the boys. For the homework, it was just the girls," Vandewater said.

The researchers added that these findings did not mean that gamers were unsocial people.

"These findin gs do not support the notion that adolescents who play video games are socially isolated," the researchers say.

They added that the findings signify that video game play can be a distraction from school-related activities, but it may not have an adverse effect on grades.

"Although gamers spend less time reading and doing homework, there have been some studies that show that high academic achievers spend less time doing homework," Cummings said.


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