Either on a TV, a computer, or a machine at a restaurant, a new study from the National Institute on Media and the Family has determined that 14% of teens today spend an average of 22 hours a week playing video games. More specifically, the report says that one in seven teens is actually addicted to those games.
"In other words, if you took the word 'video game' out and you plunked in the word 'cocaine' or the word 'gambling,' you'd find some of the same descriptors. Minimizing how much they play. Sneaking. Always thinking about it. Planning when they're going to be able to play next," says Dr. David Walsh, National Institute on Media and the Family.
Dr. Walsh also says if kids spend another 20 hours a week watching TV, then they're spending the equivalent of a full time job in front of a screen, instead of developing social and psychological skills.
Instead, the study shows that addicted adolescents are drawn to the more violent games, and are more hostile over all. They're more likely to get into physical fights, have more arguments with friends and teachers, and ultimately, have lower grades.
The bottom line, according to Dr. Walsh, is that parents set groundrules regarding when, where, how much, and what kinds of games their kids are playing.