The National Child Health Survey conducted by the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital found that 86 percent of parents said their children play too much, but three-quarters said playing games had a positive impact on their children. The report surveyed nearly 1,000 parents, at least one between the ages of 13 and 18.
Although more and more girls like to play games, it seems that teenage boys spend more time in front of the screen. According to the survey, 41 per cent of teenage boys play games every day, while the number for teenage girls drops to 20 per cent. More than half of parents say their children spend at least three hours a day playing games.
Dr Gary Freed, co-director and paediatrician at Mott Poll, said: “While many parents believe that video games may be beneficial to teenagers, they also report some negative effects of long-term games. Some of the negative effects of games were reported by parents as interference with family activities (46 percent), impact on sleep (44 percent), reduced homework time (34 percent), stopping teens from getting along with non-gaming companions (33 percent) and decreasing extracurricular activities (31 percent). In addition, 42 percent of parents said the game had a negative impact on teenagers’ moods.
While parents want their children to play less, 70 percent say they believe video games can have a positive impact on teenagers, according to the survey. Previous studies have shown that playing games can improve educational skills and help build friendships.
The researchers say parents can play an important role by setting clear rules for the content of the game and setting rules on how much time they can spend on video games. In addition, while many parents see the benefits of the game, the activity should not come at the expense of face-to-face interaction with family, friends and teachers, who play a key role in promoting the learning and healthy development of adolescents.