Study: TV, video games corrode kids' attention

Researchers find that kids have more trouble concentrating as they are exposed to increasing levels of television and video games.

The screen-time debate lives on.

This round goes to the opponents.

According to a new study from Iowa State University, television and video games cause attention problems for children.

The study, published this week in the medical journal Pediatrics, examined 1,323 kids in "middle childhood" over a 13-month period. The participants were asked to play video games and watch television. (Twist their arms.) The researchers then asked for reports from the children's parents and teachers to see how well they were paying attention at both home and school.

Based on those reports, researchers found that "exposure to television and video games was associated with greater attention problems." They also found that the association between the entertainment content and attention problems were just as "significant when earlier attention problems and gender were statistically controlled."

In other words, the video games and television were causing the attention issues, and nothing else.

The Iowa State researchers also examined whether video games and TV caused attention troubles in late adolescence and early adulthood. They examined 210 people in that age range over the same 13-month time frame. Just as with the children, the early adults and late-adolescent youths showed attention problems that followed an increase in screen time.

This isn't the first time Iowa State has examined the impact video games can have on attention span. Last year, researchers at the school examined a link between gaming and Attention Deficit Disorder. In that study, they found a correlation between high-volume game play and ADD.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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