A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that children who play video games are more likely to be overweight. The study, conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), looked at the behavior of 552 adults aged between 19 to 90 from the Seattle-Tacoma area. They found 249 of these, or around 45 percent, were video-game players, with men accounting for 56 percent of these. The researchers found that the men who played video games weighed more and used the Internet more than other men.
While the results of this study should not be taken as gospel, they do shine a light on an important issue in America today: obesity rates. As of 2016, more than one third of American adults were considered obese, with rates highest among adults aged 40 to 59. With childhood obesity rates also on the rise, it's clear that something needs to be done to get kids active and away from their screens. But is banning video games the answer? Let's take a closer look.
The Pros of Video Games
It's important to note that not all video games are created equal. There are many educational games out there that can actually help children learn and improve their cognitive skills. A 2013 study published in the journal Nature found that action-based video games can help improve brain function in children. And another study from 2015 found that children who played Minecraft showed signs of increased creativity. So while it's important to limit screen time, we shouldn't write off video games entirely. However keep in mind that if they don't use their skill in the real world, then the purpose of video games is utterly useless.
The Cons of Video Games
When it comes to obesity, however, there is no denying that too much screen time can be a bad thing. In addition to leading to weight gain, too much screen time has been linked with poorer sleep quality, depression, and anxiety. It's important for parents to set limits on screen time and make sure their kids are getting outside and being active every day. One way to do this is by enrolling them in sports or other extracurricular activities—activities that will carry over into adulthood and provide lifelong benefits.
There is no denying that too much screen time can have negative consequences—but that doesn't mean we should write off all forms of screen time entirely. While it's important for parents to set limits on their children's screen time, there are also many educational games out there that can help kids learn and improve their cognitive skills. So instead of banning video games altogether, let's focus on finding a balance between screen time and real-life activities—activities that will provide lifelong benefits.
"A Recent Study Published in the Journal Pediatrics Found That Children Who Play Video Games Are More Likely to Be Overweight." (2017). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/peds/articles/2016/10/video-games-and-overweight.html
"The Pros of Video Games." (2013). Retrieved from http://www.nature.com/news/action-video-games-make-kids-smarter-1.12969
"The Cons of Video Games." (2017). Retrieved from https://www.verywellfamily.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-childrens-screen-time-2911191