November 16, 2010 in Nation/World

Video games no threat to teens’ health

Study finds, however, some become addicted
William Weir Hartford Courant
 

HARTFORD, Conn. – The good news is that not only do video games pose little in the way of health hazards for most teens, they’re even linked to lower smoking.

The bad news is that a small group of adolescents are “problem gamers,” and that can lead to trouble.

So says a new study out of Yale, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. The study has been called one of the most comprehensive examinations of video games’ effect on health among adolescents.

Of the 4,028 surveyed, 51 percent played video games (76.3 percent male, 29.2 female). The researchers – led by Rani Desai, associate professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Yale – believe that video games pose little concern for adolescents. Among boys, video games are even linked to a lower chance that they’ll take up smoking.

However, a small group of those surveyed (close to 5 percent) reported that they have trouble cutting back on their playing, and feel tense if they don’t play. It’s among this group that problems emerge. Cigarette smoking, drug use, depression and serious fights were found to be more common in this group, for both boys and girls.


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