Extensive video games during childhood dulls the brain — study

A recent study has revealed that prolonged exposure to video games during childhood could impair the mind.

“Today, discretionary screen time, often involving multiple devices, is the single main experience and environment of children,” stated a report by the International Child Neurology Association (ICNA) in its open access journal.

Which is cause for concern, said ICNA, because children’s brain development is influenced by their experiences.

“Early experiences and the environments in which they occur can alter gene expression and affect long-term neural development. Childhood is a time of significantly greater changes in brain anatomical structure and connectivity,” the report said.

It added that there is evidence extensive exposure to videogame playing during childhood may lead to addiction.

“As is the case with substance addictions,” ICNA said, “it is possible that intensive routine exposure to certain screen activities during critical stages of neural development may alter gene expression resulting in structural, synaptic and functional changes in the developing brain leading to screen dependency disorders, particularly in children with predisposing neurogenetic profiles.”

Another point is that not only does long exposure to videogames stunt brain development, it could also result to health issues because of the sedentary nature of playing games.

“Screen dependency disorders involve high levels of discretionary screen time, inducing greater child sedentary behavior thereby reducing vital aerobic fitness, which plays an important role in the neurological health of children, particularly in brain structure and function,” said ICNA.

Staff Report

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