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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 2, 2009 | Fatty acids in diet affect ulcerative colitis risk

People who eat lots of red meat, cook with certain types of oil, and use some kinds of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-heavy margarines may be increasing their risk of a painful inflammatory bowel disease, a study in more than 200,000 Europeans shows.  These foods are high in linoleic acid and the study have found that people who were the heaviest consumers of this omega-6 PUFA were ...

December 1, 2009 | Ecstasy Users at Higher Risk of Sleep Apnea

The widely used club drug ecstasy appears to increase the risk of sleep apnea, say U.S. researchers.  "People who use ecstasy need to know that this drug damages the brain and can cause immediate and dangerous problems such as sleep apnea," study author Dr. Una McCann, of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, said in a news release.  McCann and colleagues conducted sleep tests on 71 people who'd used ...

November 30, 2009 | Switching to Light Cigarettes Will Not help you Quit Smoking

The Center of Disease Control (CDC) says that there are 44 million American smokers and many of these smokers are looking for ways to quit. Some smokers in an attempt to kick the habit are switching to "light" or ...

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 ...

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