U.S. Study Shows Gamers Aren't Loners

A study conducted by Hope Cummings of the University of Michigan and Elizabeth Vandewater of the University of Texas at Austin sampled a group of adolescents, both gamers and non-gamers, from around the U.S. to find out where they find the time to play games and what parts of their lives suffer as a result. They found that boys spent an average of 58 minutes playing games on weekdays and one hour and 37 minutes playing on weekend days. They also found that girls spent 44 minutes playing on a weekday and an hour and four minutes playing on weekend days.

To make time for all this gaming, the study found that male gamers spent less time reading while female gamers spent less time doing homework. However, the reverse wasn't true. Male gamers did not spend less time doing homework and female gamers did not spend less time reading. Interestingly, they also found that gamers weren't necessarily less social. Both male and female gamers did not spend less time with friends and parents compared to non-gamers.
"These findings do not support the notion that adolescents who play video games are socially isolated," the authors wrote.

They also said the findings indicate that video game play can be a distraction from school-related activities, but that may not hurt grades.

"Although gamers spend less time reading and doing homework, there have been some studies that show that high academic achievers spend less time doing homework," Cummings said.

"Gamers may actually be more effective in completing homework assignments, and as a result, they spend less time doing homework. We need to look deeper into what is going on," she said.

The study, which appears in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, gathered data from a nationally representative sample of 1,491 kids aged 10 to 19 in 2002. Roughly 36% of the participants were gamers and about 80% of the sample was male. Cummings and colleagues tracked the activities of each participant on one random weekday and one random weekend day.
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