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Almost Ten Percent of Youth Addicted to Video Games

Last Updated: April 20, 2009.

Close to 10 percent of American children and adolescents can be considered "addicted" to playing video games based on clinical criteria, according to a study published online April 13 in Psychological Science.

MONDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Close to 10 percent of American children and adolescents can be considered "addicted" to playing video games based on clinical criteria, according to a study published online April 13 in Psychological Science.

Douglas A. Gentile, Ph.D., from Iowa State University in Ames, analyzed the results of a Harris poll of 1,178 randomly selected American youth 8 to 18 years old regarding their video gaming habits, parent involvement in gaming, and the percentage meeting the criteria for pathological gaming.

The author found that 8.5 percent of children and adolescents reported behavioral patterns of playing video games that would be considered pathological by clinical-style criteria, causing family, social, school, or psychological damage. Pathological gamers spent twice as much time playing video games, had poorer grades in school, and had attention problems. Even after controlling for sex, age, and weekly amount of video game play, pathological status predicted poor school performance.

"Using a national sample of youth aged 8 to 18, 8.5 percent of video game players exhibited pathological patterns of play as defined by exhibiting at least six out of 11 symptoms of damage to family, social, school, or psychological functioning," Gentile concludes.

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