Parents Encouraged To Keep Screen Devices Out Of Kids’ Bedrooms At Night Interview with:
“Video Game Addicts” by Michael Bentley is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Marsha Novick, MD

Associate professor of pediatrics and family and community medicine,
Penn State College of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The results of this study solidify some well-established data concerning childhood obesity – namely that children who watch more television and have a more sedentary lifestyle are more likely to have an overweight or obese BMI compared with those who are more active. The survey results highlight some associations between increased technology use and difficulty with sleep quantity in children and adolescents.

The data suggest:

  • ​​Increased technology use at bedtime, namely television, cell phones, video games and computers, is associated with a decrease in the amount of sleep children are getting. These children were more likely to be tired in the morning and less likely to eat breakfast.
  • Specifically, children who reported watching TV or playing video games before bed got an average of 30 minutes less sleep than those who did not, while kids who used their phone or a computer before bed averaged an hour less of sleep than those who did not.
  • The data also suggests that children with overweight or obesity were more likely to have trouble falling asleep and trouble staying asleep than their normal BMI counterparts
  • When children were reported by their parents to use one form of technology at bedtime, they were more likely to use another form of technology as well.

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New Tool Can Tell Whether Your Child Has a ‘Screen Addiction’ Interview with:
“Cici loves full screen video on the XO” by Mike Lee is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Sarah E. Domoff, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Central Michigan University
Research Faculty Affiliate
Center for Human Growth and Development
University of Michigan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There has been growing concern that children may become “addicted” to screens, such as tablets and other mobile devices. Children at younger ages are now “owning” their own mobile devices and have increased access to gaming apps and other rewarding functions of these devices. Until now, there hasn’t been a parent report form available to capture addictive like use of screen media in children.

The Problematic Media Use Measure (PMUM) assesses addictive-like use of screen media in children under 12 years and has strong psychometrics. We found that the PMUM does a better job in predicting psychosocial difficulties in children, over and above hours of screen time.

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Action Video Games Improved Amblyopia In Two Weeks Interview with:
Krista Kelly, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow
Crystal Charity Ball Pediatric Vision Evaluation Center
Retina Foundation of the Southwest
Dallas, TX 75231 What is the background for this study?

Response: Amblyopia is one of the most common causes of monocular impairment in children, affecting 1 or 2 children in every US classroom. Patching of the fellow eye has been used for decades to improve visual acuity in the amblyopic eye. But patching does not always restore normal vision and does not teach the two eyes to work together. A novel technique originally designed by Drs Robert Hess and Ben Thompson at McGill University that works to reduce interocular suppression by rebalancing the contrast between the eyes has shown promising results in amblyopic adults. Dr Eileen Birch at the Retina Foundation of the Southwest worked with Dr Hess to adapt this contrast re-balancing approach to an iPad game platform suitable for children. Her research showed that the games were successful in improving visual acuity in amblyopic children as well. However, these initial games were rudimentary and resulted in low compliance.

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Playing Video Games By Children May Be Helpful In Moderation Interview with:

Jesus Pujol, MD Director of the MRI Research Unit. Department of Radiology. Hospital del Mar Barcelona

Dr. Jesus Pujol

Jesus Pujol, MD
Director of the MRI Research Unit.
Department of Radiology. Hospital del Mar
Barcelona What is the background for this study?

Response: The pros and cons of video gaming in children have been extensively debated. There are relevant amounts of data indicating both the positive and negative effects of video games. Nevertheless, a key question for many parents remains unanswered: How long should children play? To provide some clarity, we have investigated the relationship between weekly video game use and certain cognitive abilities and conduct-related problems.

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Active Video Games: Mixed Benefit In Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity Interview with:
Aidan Gribbon M.Sc., CSEP-CEP
From the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group
Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: The background for the study is that sedentary pursuits, such as video games, are omni-present in the daily lives of adolescents. Manufacturers of active video games (AVG) have been marketing them as a ‘healthy’ alternative to seated video games, with the possibility of preventing/treating obesity in this age group. Although, active video games have been shown to acutely increase energy expenditure over their seated counterparts, no study has examined their compensatory adjustments in energy expenditure or energy intake.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: The main finding of this paper was that although active video games are not associated with an increased food intake, they are compensated for by a decrease in physical activity such that their benefit of a reduction in the energy gap underlying weight gain is offset within 24 hours.

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Video Game Violence May Not Increase Violent Crime

Christopher J. Ferguson PhD. Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology Department of Psychology Stetson University DeLand, FL Interview with:
Christopher J. Ferguson PhD.
Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology
Department of Psychology
Stetson University DeLand, FL

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Ferguson: People have debated whether media violence contributes to societal violence for centuries.  A lot of individual laboratory experiments have tried to answer this question, but results have always tended to be inconsistent.  Not too much data had yet looked at concordance between media violence and societal violence.  In the current study I examined levels of movie violence across the 20th century, and video game violence in the latter part of the 20th, into the 21st century.  Results generally indicted that it was not possible to demonstrate that media violence consumption correlated with increased crime in society.

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Can A Video Game Help Your Teenagers Understand HIV Risks?

Lynn E. Fiellin, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine Director, play2PREVENT Lab Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT Interview with
Lynn E. Fiellin, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Director, play2PREVENT Lab
Yale University School of Medicine
New Haven, CT 06510

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Fiellin: The current findings are part of a larger study evaluating an interactive evidence-based video game, PlayForward: Elm City Stories, developed on the iPad and targeting risk reduction and HIV prevention in 333 young teens (ages 11-14). The larger study is examining a range of outcomes including knowledge, intentions, self-efficacy and actual behaviors and we are collecting at baseline, 6 weeks, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months. We are examining these outcomes in our experimental group compared with a control group playing a set of off-the-shelf games on the iPad. The current findings of the 196 teens who have completed the 6 weeks of gameplay and for whom we have baseline and 3 month data, reveal that, while the two groups had no differences in their baseline HIV risk knowledge, the PlayForward group had statistically significant gains in knowledge at 6 weeks (p<0.0001), sustained at 3 months (p<0.01). In addition, examining the association between exposure to the game and performance on the standardized assessments revealed that the number of game levels completed (a measure of exposure to the intervention) was positively correlated with knowledge gains measured at 3 months (r=0.42; p<0.001).

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Strategy Video Game Training and Improved Cognitive Flexibility Interview with:

Brian D. Glass
Biological and Experimental Psychology, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary, University of London, London, United Kingdom

Bradley C. Love
Department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences, University College London, London, United Kingdom What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: We had 72 non-gaming participants play 40 hours of video games over 6 to 8 weeks. We tested them on psychological tests before and after. The participants either played The Sims (a life simulator game), or one of two versions of StarCraft (a real-time strategy game) — one which had a higher level of complexity. We found that the StarCraft players (especially on the higher complexity version) performed better on specifically the psychological tasks which tested cognitive flexibility. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to adapt to a changing environment by keeping multiple things in mind and switch between tasks effectively. This sort of ability is considered a higher level psychological ability because it requires strategic thinking and creativity.
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Interactive Video Games Appear Valuable for ICU Patients

Release Date: 10/03/2011

Interactive video games, already known to improve motor function in recovering stroke patients, appear to safely enhance physical therapy for patients in intensive care units (ICU), new research from Johns Hopkins suggests.

In a report published online in the Journal of Critical Care, researchers studied the safety and feasibility of using video games to complement regular physical therapy in the ICU.

“Patients admitted to our medical intensive care unit are very sick and, despite early physical therapy, still experience problems with muscle weakness, balance and coordination as they recover,” says study leader Michelle E. Kho, P.T., Ph.D, assistant professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins. “We are always looking for creative ways to improve rehabilitation care for critically ill patients, and our study suggests that interactive video games may be a helpful addition.”

For the study, the Johns Hopkins researchers identified a select group of 22 critically ill adult patients over a one-year period who received video games as part of routine physical therapy. These patients were part of a group of 410 patients who received standard early physical therapy in the medical ICU during the same time frame from Hopkins’ physical therapists. The patients in the study, mostly males ranging from 32 to 64 years of age, were admitted to the medical ICU as a result of health problems, such as respiratory failure, sepsis, and cardiovascular issues.

These 22 patients participated in 42 physical therapy sessions that included use of Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit video game consoles. Almost half of the 20-minute sessions, all provided under the direct supervision of a physical therapist, included patients who were mechanically ventilated. The most common video game activities included boxing, bowling and use of the balance board. The physical therapists chose these activities primarily to improve patients’ stamina and balance.

“As always, patient safety was a top priority, given that healthy people playing video games may be injured during routine gaming, but when properly selected and supervised by experienced ICU physical therapists, patients enjoyed the challenge of the video games and welcomed the change from their physical therapy routines,” says senior author, Dale M. Needham, M.D. ,Ph.D., associate professor and medical director of the Critical Care Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Program at Johns Hopkins.

Needham added that video game therapy activities are short in duration, which is ideal for severely deconditioned patients, and very low-cost compared to most ICU medical equipment. Added to regular physical therapy, the video games can boost patients’ interest in therapy and motivation to do more therapy. The researchers caution that more research is needed to determine whether the video games improve patients’ abilities to do the tasks that are the most important to them.

“Our study had limitations because the patients were not randomly selected, the video game sessions were infrequent and the number of patients was small,” Kho noted. “Our next step is to study what physical therapy goals best benefit from video games.”

Other Hopkins researchers in the study included Jennifer M. Zanni, P.T., Sc.D. and Abdulla Damluji, MBChB, MPH.