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News: December 20, 2009

Wii, Xbox 360 and Other Video Games Offer Some Benefits

December 20, 2009

Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation, and other video games are hot on holiday gift lists, but some parents wonder whether these games offer any benefits or are detrimental to kids. The results of a new study may put some minds at ease, while others may not.

According to the findings reported in the latest issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, regular gamers transfer their skills as fast, accurate information processors to real-life situations. The authors also found that as gamers got faster, their speed was apparent on various unrelated laboratory tests of reaction time.

Gamers also did not become less accurate as their speed increased, a belief held by many skeptics. The study's authors believe that this skill is a result of an improvement in the gamer's visual cognition. Playing video games improves mental rotation skill performance, spatial and visual memory, and the ability to perform tasks that require divided attention. Based on their findings, the scientists propose that training with video games may reduce gender differences seen in visual and spatial processing, and well as help prevent some of the cognitive decline that occurs with aging.

That being said, a recent statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics noted that exposure to violence in media, including video games, represents a significant health risk to children and adolescents. The Academy noted that based on extensive research, media violence can contribute to nightmares, aggressive behavior, and desensitization to violence.

A recent University of Florida study examined the amount and content of video games played by children in relation to behavior and academics. The authors found that time spent by children playing violent games was associated with aggression while educational games were related to good academic achievement.

It appears that the health impact on young people who play video games such as Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation is mixed. While playing video games may improve mental faculties, hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, and provide intellectual stimulation, they may also have a negative effect on behavior. Both the benefits and drawbacks of playing video games depend on the types of games played, the frequency of play, and the lifestyle and environment in which the child is being raised.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Pediatrics

Council on Communications and Media. Pediatrics 2009 Nov; 124(5): 1495-503
Dye MWG et al. Current Directions in Psychological Science 2009 Dec; 18(6): 321-26
Hastings EC et al. Issues in Mental Health Nursing 2009 Oct; 30(10): 638-49



Archive issues: (50)

Archive list: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 [12] 13 14 15 16 17

November 11, 2009 | Treatment for Sleep Apnea Can Improve Golf Game

Men with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who received nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP or NPAP) treatments not only improved their health, but also lowered their golf handicap by as much as three strokes, according to ...

November 10, 2009 | More Insurance Companies Are Paying For Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine which was once thought to be controversial and experimental is now gaining newfound respect within the medical community. In fact so much respect that more insurance companies are beginning to pay for alternative medicine.  More and more doctors trained in Western medicine are allowing alternative therapies are beginning to understand the power of alternative medicine and are attempting to blend Eastern and Western ...

November 9, 2009 | Two Antibiotics Linked to Birth Defects

Most antibiotics used during pregnancy are safe, but researchers have found a link between two commonly prescribed drugs and birth defects.  The study, part of the National Birth Defects Prevention Study and published in the November issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, is ...

Archive list: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 [12] 13 14 15 16 17

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December 20, 2009

Wii, Xbox 360 and Other Video Games Offer Some Benefits

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