A new study of 1,500 adolescents appeared in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. One of the things this study focuses on is how gaming affects your live:
The authors then compared the gaming population to the non-gamers on a set of five activities: interactions with parents and with friends, reading, homework, and sports. They controlled for basic demographic issues, such as adjusting figures on the time spent with parents according to the hours the parents worked; student times were adjusted based on the hours they worked or spent in school.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the results was how little an effect gaming had on adolescents. Hours at the console had no link to time spent in sports, with the exception of a minor drop for boys during weekends (where each hour of gaming lead to 8 minutes less time on sports). Even some potentially disturbing figures seem minor when examined in detail. For each hour spent gaming during the week, the time that boys spent reading dropped by 30 percent. This would be problematic except for the fact that boys only spent an average of eight minutes reading on a typical weekday.
Instead of turning kids into loners, gaming largely fell in line with general trends of social interactions. Although there was some variability between the sexes, children who gamed with their friends generally spent more time with friends in every other activity. A similar trend held with parents, in that children who had fewer interactions with their parents in general were less likely to game with their parents, as well.
The strongest effect seen in the study was related to homework. In this case, homework and gaming were unrelated in boys; the same trend held for girls during the week. But, on weekends, each hour girls spent gaming was correlated to 13 fewer minutes spent on homework, a drop of 34 percent. Still, the authors caution that this link does not indicate a drop in academic effort; they note that it's entirely possible that gamers organize their time better. Again, this important observation has been ignored.