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Video game addiction can cause depression, poor grades, study shows

by nickj on January 17, 2011

Spending too many hours playing video games has always been frowned upon, but results of a new study suggest that the consequences may be more dire than tired eyes. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released findings that indicate excessive gaming can cause depression, anxiety and lower grades in school, HealthDay News reports.

Although there have been numerous studies examining the effects of video game addiction, what had not been confirmed was weather children with mental health issues and anxiety turned to video games, or if those problems arose from their addiction. This research seems to suggest the latter, and found that if a child exhibited a pre-existing psychological problem, gaming only exacerbated it.

"But we found that in kids who started gaming pathologically, depression and anxiety got worse," associate professor of psychology at Iowa State Douglas Gentile told the news source. "And, when they stopped gaming, the depression lifted. It may be that these disorders [co-exist], but games seem to make the problem worse."

The results are set to be published in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics, and were collected by examining more the habits of more than 3,000 children in Singapore between third and eighth grade. The study found that around nine percent of those polled were pathological gamers, which is about the same rate as the United States, and factors such as social incompetence, impulsive behavior and playing more than 30 hours of games a week all contributed to addiction.

Experts suggest that parents limit their children's screen time to no more than two hours a day. This includes time spent watching television, using the computer or playing video games.

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