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Vindicating (some) video games

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

The Phoenix Suns' small forward Devin Booker scored 34 points in 35 minutes of playing time in October to lead his NBA team to a 134-105 victory against the Golden State Warriors. He's got game -- both on the court and off. Seems Devin is also a video gamer. In fact, he is so good at "NBA 2K" that in 2020, he won the inaugural Players Tournament, defeating other NBA players who are serious about video games, such as the Denver Nuggets' Michael Porter Jr., Washington's Rui Hachimura and the Los Angeles Clippers' Montrezl Harrell.

If you think of video gamers as sedentary loners and worry that obsession with on-screen athletics and fantasy worlds may harm your child's brain development, think again. A new study in JAMA Network Open reveals that kids who play video games for three or more hours a day actually improve their cognitive performance, have better impulse control and stronger memory than kids who don't play video games at all.

Researchers analyzed data on around 2,000 kids ages 9 to 10 from the Adolescent Brain and Development Study. They found that playing video games 21 hours a week didn't dim kids' wits. And, to a small degree, it was associated with improvements in handling social problems and a reduction in rule-breaking and aggressive behavior, depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and stress. So, while first-person shooter games (violent and deadly) seem to blunt children's emotional responsiveness, other video games that involve shooting basketballs or slaying dragons can be a healthy part of a child's diverse learning processes.

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Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email questions@GreatAgeReboot.com.

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
 

 

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