What type of child is more likely to become addicted to video games? Show Notes

Friday, August 09, 2013 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Are certain kids more likely to become addicted to video games than others?  The answer is YES, according to new research.

HealthDay is reporting on a new study that found that boys with ADHD or autism are more at risk for addictive video game use.

Experts said they aren't surprised by the findings.

Dr. Andrew Adesman, is chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York.  He says "Boys with ADHD and boys on the autism spectrum both have difficulties relating with peers.  Video games provide a diversion that doesn't require interaction with peers or siblings.”

In the U.S., it's estimated that between 3 to 7 percent of school-age children have ADHD.  About one in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder. 

This can range from mild, as in Asperger syndrome to full-blown autism with severely limited communication skills.  Boys are far more likely than girls to have either diagnosis.

One of the common features of autism is a repetitive interest in a restricted number of activities. This may be directly related to problematic video game use, according to the University of Missouri researchers that conducted the study.

The most common symptoms of ADHD -- inattention and hyperactivity -- may also relate to addictive game use.  A previous study showed that when youngsters with ADHD started medication for their condition, their video game use went down.

The study doesn't specify how much time spent gaming qualifies as "problematic,” but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than an hour or two of total screen time daily—including television. 

They also say parents should make sure the content of that screen time has some kind of educational value.

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.

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