Game On! Video Games May Not Be So Bad After All

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Believe it or not, there actually are positive effects of playing video games... in moderation, at least. Sure, spending hours in front of the TV is not a good thing. But recent research finds that teens who play less than an hour of video games daily are more socially adjusted than those who don't.

Oxford University carried out the study, which found that young people who played some video games (but for no more than 3 hours a day), were associated with the highest levels of sociability. They also had fewer friendship and emotional problems.

Three in four British teens play video games on a daily basis. Those who played too many video games (in other words, it takes up more than half of their free time) were not as socially adjusted. That's because they miss out on other, more enriching activities.

This may just be the start of the university's research, however. Study author Dr. Andrew Przybylski has said,

Further research needs to be carried out to look closely at the specific attributes of games that make them beneficial or harmful. It will also be important to identify how social environments such as family, peers, and the community shape how gaming experiences influence young people.

Either way, the good news is gaming isn't a total waste of time. In fact, it can be a positive way to spend some free time — just make sure to set limits!

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Learn more about Choices magazine, a health and well-being magazine for teens! Check out past stories, including “The Magical 7-Minute Workout” and “Make Your Move.”