I am planning to publish this article for my son to read in FB ( which he is allowed to do in my room only during weekends) and for the other parents to reconsider the practice of allowing kids to play video and internet games at their leisure. It is easy to use these gadgets as surrogate nannies because they make our kids stay put and have their own world. Part of the compromise for busy parents is to buy their kids the best gadgets because kids wont complain their absence as long as they have the gadgets to enjoy.
Now comes a study published in Pediatrics regarding the long term dangers of allowing our kids to enjoy these gadgets on a daily basis:
Objectives : We aimed to measure the prevalence and length of the problem of pathological video gaming or Internet use, to identify risk and protective factors, to determine whether pathological gaming is a primary or secondary problem, and to identify outcomes for individuals who become or stop being pathological gamers.
Methods : A 2-year, longitudinal, panel study was performed with a general elementary and secondary school population in Singapore, including 3034 children in grades 3 (N = 743), 4 (N = 711), 7 (N = 916), and 8 (N = 664). Several hypothesized risk and protective factors for developing or overcoming pathological gaming were measured, including weekly amount of game play, impulsivity, social competence, depression, social phobia, anxiety, and school performance.
Results: The prevalence of pathological gaming was similar to that in other countries (9%). Greater amounts of gaming, lower social competence, and greater impulsivity seemed to act as risk factors for becoming pathological gamers, whereas depression, anxiety, social phobias, and lower school performance seemed to act as outcomes of pathological gaming.
Conclusion: This study adds important information to the discussion about whether video game “addiction” is similar to other addictive behaviors, demonstrating that it can last for years and is not solely a symptom of comorbid disorders.
According to the opinion of Medpage Today… two important things that we learned from the study:
- That spending hours with a PlayStation or an Xbox including Internet Games every day can lead to serious psychiatric problems in children.
- That increases in pathological gaming symptoms were predictive of depression, anxiety, social phobia, and school performance at follow-up.
That’s a WAKE-UP call…