Video Games Cut Into Homework, Reading Time

Gamers spend about one-third less time doing homework and reading

THURSDAY, July 12 (HealthDay News) -- A study of video game play among adolescents suggests that while gaming may not affect social interactions with family and friends, gamers tend to spend 30 percent less time reading and doing homework than non-gamers, researchers report in the July issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Elizabeth Vandewater, Ph.D., and a colleague from the University of Texas at Austin reviewed survey results focusing on daily activities of 1,491 adolescents aged 10 to 19 during the 2002-2003 school year. Twenty-four-hour time dairies were collected for a randomly selected weekday and weekend day.

The investigators found that 36 percent of the subjects played video games, 80 percent of whom were boys, and did so on average for an hour on the weekday and 1.5 hours on the weekend day. Gamers spent an average of 30 percent less time reading and 34 percent less time doing homework than non-gamers.

"As interactive media and technology become more and more a part of the fabric of American daily life, it is crucial to understand and distinguish the ways in which video game play does and does not influence adolescent development," the authors write. In addition, the effects may be different for boys than for girls.

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