Game time : how does adolescent video game play relate to time spent in other activities?

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Cummings, Hope Maylene

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Particularly during adolescence when social interactions and academic success lay the groundwork for health in adulthood, many fear that videogames will distract from important school-related, social and physical activities that are needed to make a successful transition to adulthood. The current study examines the notion that playing videogames interferes with the time adolescents spend in more developmentally appropriate activities. Differences in time spent between game players and non-game players were assessed as well as the magnitude of the relationships among game time and activity time among adolescent game players. Survey data drawn from a nationally representative sample of children ages 10-19 in 2002 (N = 1491) were utilized. 24-h time use diaries were used to determine adolescents’ time spent playing videogames, with parents and friends, reading and doing homework, in sports and active leisure, and using other media. Results indicated that 36% of adolescents played videogames. On average, gamers played for an hour on a weekday, and an hour and half on a weekend day. In general, gamers and non-gamers did not differ in the amount of time they spent interacting with family and friends, but adolescent gamers spent 30% less time reading and 34% less time doing homework. Among gamers (of both genders), time spent playing video games without parents or friends were negatively related to time spent with parents and friends in other activities. Implications of these findings are considered


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