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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

December 5, 2009 | Half of teen girls have STIs by 2 years of first sex

Within 2 years of having sex for the first time, half of teenage girls may be at least one of three common sexually transmitted infections (STIs), according to results of a study published today. Often, those girls are infected by the age of 15.  Researchers followed 386 urban adolescent girls aged 14 to 17 for up to 8 years. Within 2 years of becoming sexually active, half of the ...

December 4, 2009 | Antidepressants May Change Your Personality

Taking antidepressants may not only help alleviate depression, but could make you more extraverted and less neurotic, new research suggests.  Extraversion, which is associated with positive emotions, is believed to help protect from depression, while neuroticism, the tendency to experience negative emotions and emotional instability, is ...

December 3, 2009 | Smoking Exposure Now Linked to Colon, Breast Cancers

Add colorectal cancer to the list of malignancies caused by smoking, with a new study strengthening the link between the two.  And other studies are providing more bad news for people who haven't managed to quit: Two papers published in the December issue of Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a themed issue on tobacco, strengthen the case for the ...

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

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News

December 20, 2009

Wii, Xbox 360 and Other Video Games Offer Some Benefits

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, ...

December 18, 2009

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Yes, the weather outside is frightful, and soon you will have to think about shoveling snow. But should you be the one doing the work? Who should and should not shovel snow, and how can you do it safely?  Every winter, approximately 1,200 Americans die from a heart attack or ...

December 17, 2009

Athletes who take NSAID's to prevent pain may be doing more harm than good

According to Stuart Warden, a researcher who studies musculoskeletal health and sports medicine, athletes who ritualistically take NSAID's to prevent post event and workout soreness and inflammation may be depriving the body of healing, in addition to risking other long term health problems. Taking anti ...

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