The pros and cons of playing video games Show Notes

Thursday, April 05, 2012 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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You may have heard me mention that playing video games can actually “rewire” gamers' brains. Well According to researchers, that's not always a bad thing.

Several university studies (most of them conducted on adults) conclude that gamers tend to make faster decisions, can pay attention to more things at once and might even be more creative.

But not all the researchers’ conclusions are so positive. Medical scans also suggest that violent video games can negatively alter the brains of young men, affecting their ability to control angry impulses.  And that’s after just ONE WEEK!  Other studies link video games with obesity, introversion and depression.

The benefits of playing "active" video games such as Wii may also be overstated. Scientists found that Wii games and others that encourage movement may help burn a few more calories, but the effect is minimal.

Jacob Barkley, an exercise scientist from Kent State University says "Is the Wii going to really contribute to getting those 60 minutes of physical activity a day?" I don't think so."

So mom and dad—here’s my advice. Limit video game play to 30 minutes a day, AFTER your kids finish their homework, do their chores and engage in some kind of physical activity. 

Your kids may not like this rule one bit—but think of all the POSITIVE things they can do with the extra time!

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.

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