Stories about: video games

My son’s PS3 requires access to the Internet, but I don’t want Internet in his bedroom—what do I do?

Michael Rich, MD, MPH
Michael Rich, MD, MPH

Michael Rich, MD, MPH, is Children’s Hospital Boston’s media expert and director of Children’s Center on Media and Child Health. Take a look at his blog archive or follow him on Twitter @CMCH_Boston.

This week, Rich advises parents of kids who own internet-ready video game systems.

Q: My 12-year-old son wanted a PS3, partly as a birthday gift and partly out of money he’s saved. This was to replace his PS2 because some of the games he wanted were not available for PS2. His PS2 is in his room on a non-cable hooked up TV so that all of his approved, appropriately rated games can be played without all the gaming controllers, fake guitars, and the like taking up all of our adult space. But, he is not far enough from me that I don’t know how long (or what) he is playing. After buying the PS3, we learned that, in order to play PS3 games multi-player, the device has to have the wireless Internet function activated. That essentially puts a computer in his room where he is not under supervision.

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Does being in control of video games make kids more easily frustrated in the real world?

Michael Rich, MD, MPH is Children’s media expert. He is the director of Children’s Center on Media and Child Health. Take a look at his blog archive or follow him on Twitter @CMCH_Boston.

Michael Rich, MD, MPH
Michael Rich, MD, MPH

Last week he answered your questions on if TV for toddlers can lead to poor school preformance later in life. This week he answers your question about whether or not feelings of control in video games make kids more easily frustrated in real life.

Q: Many of the kids I know have been playing video games from a very young age. For the most part, as these children have grown up, they have become anti-social and easily frustrated. Are there any studies showing that these games, where the player is always in control, affect behavior and the ability to live in the real world?
Kids in Control? in Santa Monica, CA

A: Dear Kids in Control,

If the kids you are talking about are now teenagers, then their anti-social qualities may just be part of their current stage of life! However, it may be that they seem more withdrawn than other kids their age, or that they are past adolescence and still seem anti-social. Looking at the scientific research, there are a number of studies about the effects of violent video games on behavior. One author actually compared all of these studies to each other and concluded: The evidence strongly suggests that exposure to violent video games is a causal risk factor for…decreased empathy and prosocial behavior. So it is possible that kids who play a lot of violent video games will grow up to be less social. However, the study does not examine why that is.

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Tackling gender imbalance in children's films

stockphotopro_51363907WHF_young_childrenby Dafna Lemish, PhD

Actress Geena Davis’s recent speech to the United Nations highlighted a concern that researchers of children and media have been speaking about for many years. The programs on the screens our children view – on television, computers, movie theaters or even their mobile phones – portray a world of gross gender inequality: Girls still appear marginal to society.

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Health headlines: Deafness, IVF and the new flu vaccine

yawning boyOther stories we’ve been reading:

New York’s soda tax could bring in $222 million. [Read Children’s obesity expert’s take on artificially sweetened beverages.] Chronic health conditions are increasing in children. If your child’s grandparents are babysitting regularly, it’s more likely your kid will be overweight. Bone-anchored hearing aids help kids with single-side deafness.

The best way to keep your kids vaccinations up-to-date is to keep a shot card. [Read about the updated immunization schedule.] Rapid flu tests are most accurate for young children. The new seasonal flu vaccine will contain an H1N1 strain.

Teens might exercise more if they think it’s fun. Video games aren’t the cause for your teen’s headaches. Tired teens are more prone to car crashes. A lack of morning light can cause irregular sleep for teens. {Read how late bedtimes affect teens mental health.]

Preemie twins may face lower risks of certain complications versus single preemie babies. Does an adult’s health differ when they’re an IVF baby? Bilingualism may begin in the womb. The average birth weight in the United States in on the decline.

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