Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Boys With Autism Or ADHD More Prone To Overuse Video Games

Video games can be a haven from the world, and it's easy to imagine that they would appeal to children who struggle with social interaction.

Boys with autism spectrum disorders or with ADHD are both prone to problematic use of video games, according to a study.

The researchers asked the parents of boys ages 8 to 18 to report on their child's video game use, including hours of use and the types of games they play.

The boys with autism spectrum disorders spent twice as much time playing video games as did the typical boys, two hours a day compared to one. The boys with ADHD played 1.7 hours a day on average. That means that the boys with autism or ADHD were reaching the maximum two hours a day for screen time set by the American Academy of Pediatrics, before adding in TV or other screen use.

Earlier studies of children with ADHD or autism also have found increased use of video games, but this is the first study to compare the two with typically developing children.

The boys with ADHD or autism also scored higher on a test intended to measure dependence on video games. The more inattentive symptoms they had, the more likely they were to score higher for problematic video game use. The study authors speculate that because children with autism often have restricted interests and preoccupations, they may be more likely to become overly dependent on video games.

And boys with ADHD or autism were far more likely to have video game systems in their rooms. About 43 percent of them had systems in their rooms, compared to 12 percent of typical boys. (No word on how iPods and other mobile devices factor in.)

Read the whole story at NPR.org

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