While video games are seen as a good alternative to keep kids occupied when parents are working, a new study is suggesting these very video games may cause a type of behavioral addiction. In what may parents will relate to, the study says "addicted" kids miss homework, avoid household chores and even take to games as an escape route from their little worries.
The study by researcher Douglas Gentile and colleagues of Iowa State University says that 8.5 percent of American youth in the 8-18 age group show disturbing signs of being addicted to video games. Around 1,178 children and teens took part in the Harris Poll survey in 2007, which was based on a series of question relating to their gaming habit.
Gentile devised 11 symptoms around which the poll queries were based. Games were deemed to be "pathological" if they reported at least six of the eleven symptoms.
The Washington Post is reporting that "four times as many boys as girls were considered 'pathological gamers'."
Most children play video games just to enjoy them, but for some it becomes an obsession. If a child starts spending more money on video games, lying about what he / she is doing on the PC, skipping homework, avoiding household chores or even stealing money to buy more exciting games, then it is time to worry for the parents.
Overall some 88% of the youth surveyed said they played video games sometimes. Boys played more than girls spending an average of 14 hours per week playing, while girls spent nine hours per week playing video games.
The details of the study appear in the journal Psychological Science.