Excess gaming linked to depression, bad grades
January 17th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

Excess gaming linked to depression, bad grades

When it comes to playing video games, it seems moderation is important to a child's mental health. A new study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics finds excessive gaming may lead to depression, anxiety, and poor grades in school.

Researchers in the U.S. and overseas looked at more than 3,000 elementary and middle-school children in Singapore and found that almost 9% of them were considered pathological or "addicted" to gaming – similar percentages were found in other countries.

Over a two-year period about 84% of those who started out as excessive gamers remained so, indicating that this may not simply be a phase that children go through. Boys were more likely to show symptoms of excessive gaming. Overall those considered "pathological" gamers displayed higher levels of depression and other mental health issues than their peers who played fewer video games. The researchers also found that students who did stop their excessive gaming reduced their levels of depression, anxiety and social phobia.

There is debate in the medical community as to whether pathological or "addictive" video gaming should be listed as a mental disorder in the American Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders – a guide used by the American Psychiatric Association in diagnosing mental disorders.

To gauge the level of pathological gaming, the study authors asked students questions similar to the type used to diagnose gambling addiction such as: were students becoming more preoccupied with video games, did they lie about the amount of time spent playing, had their schoolwork suffered, and if playing helped them escape from problems or bad feelings.

A young person was labeled pathological or "addicted" if the practice caused problems in his or her life.

"And we define that as actual functioning – their school, social, family, occupational, psychological functioning. To be considered pathological, gamers must be damaging multiple areas of their lives," explains study author Douglas Gentile, Ph.D., developmental psychologist at Iowa State University in Ames.

Pathological gamers were playing an average of more than 31 hours a week compared with their less excessive peers who played about 19 hours a week.

Gentile and the other researchers also looked at potential risk factors for becoming pathological gamers.

"Kids who were more impulsive were more likely to become addicted; they had a harder time managing their impulse control. If they were socially awkward then they were more likely to be addicted and if they spent a greater amount of time then the average kids playing games," explained Gentile.

The Entertainment Software Association disagreed with the findings. " "There simply is no concrete evidence that computer and video games cause harm," a statement from the organization said. "In fact, a wide body of research has shown the many ways games are being used to improve our lives through education, health and business applications."

Dr. Don Shifrin, spokesperson with the American Academy of Pediatrics, called Gentile's study important. "It allows us to take a harder look at how gamers play and whether there is balance in the lives of our children and teens," he said

The AAP recommends that elementary school age children engage in no more than one hour of screen time a day, and high schoolers no more than  two.

soundoff (1,355 Responses)
  1. Jimmy James

    I think it is irresponsible for them to draw a correlation without giving reasons. I will throw out a hypothesis that the main reason anxiety, depression and poor grades in school happen because the youth are missing sleep. They stay up late playing video games and miss sleep in the process. Sleep deprivation has been known to cause such things as anxiety, depression and poor grades in young adults. So perhaps they should check to see if that is the real cause instead of playing video games - or if we want to just wantonly throw out reasons, poor parenting. What parent who is actually involved in their child's life will allow them to play video games for thirty-one hours a week...or a "non-excessive" 19 hours (a part-time job's worth) a week?

    January 17, 2011 at 03:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kevin

      I agree, and I would also point out that it is possible and perhaps even likely that children who are already depressed are more likely to play video games. Addiction itself does not begin in a vacuum. I play video games on and off, and the times where I play the most are usually when I am depressed for one reason or another.

      January 17, 2011 at 03:54 | Report abuse |
    • J D

      If anything, video games play more in the part of therapy from depression rather than actually causing depression. For example, after a long and sometimes stressful day that an individual might have, they can look to video games as a break from these problems they might face and help them cope with what is going on around them. Video games are a way out from the situational stresses that might cause an individual to be depressed and can help build confidence in ones self. The video games that people these days play are filled with challenges and goals that the player must accomplish in order to "rank up" or unlock certain things in a video game, a lot of these so called "challenges" when overcome, can bring a sense of pride and accomplishment which tends to calm the player and, at the same time, help deal with a lot of what is going on in their lives. An individual might be depressed but video games are not the cause, it is what an individual experiences in his own reality that can cause him or her to become depressed.

      January 17, 2011 at 06:21 | Report abuse |
    • Blair

      I also suggest that social development leads a part in this, Those who do not tend to "be the in-group" would thus have more idle time, without peers to fill their time with, they would rely on family who likely doesnt see it or address it, which leads to bordom for the individual, so why not play video games?.. they are enjoyable...
      Its unreasonable to draw a line between the act of playing a video game and depression...

      It should be asked, why do these kids have soo much time to play video games?, its the time spent not sleeping, and the lack of outward social connections that leads to this... I suspect you could replay the same study but put " Kids who sit in an empty room for 14 hours a day linked to depression "

      January 17, 2011 at 07:21 | Report abuse |
    • StopTheMadness

      Let's also add the fact that most parent place their children in front of these games to keep them out of their hair. That could also be the link to depression. Simple Fact is depression comes from a lot of thing and video games are a release from reality. For both the children and the parents.

      January 17, 2011 at 08:33 | Report abuse |
    • Nikki

      It is never the other way... "depression linked to being drawn to video games". So stupid.

      January 17, 2011 at 08:41 | Report abuse |
    • InLove0607

      It's not just kids. Video games are one of the many causes of my divorce. When my now ex-husband would spend 8+ hours a day on the PS2 (we divorced in 2008) or on the PC. Many times I woke up for work only to find him STILL playing the same thing that he was when I went to sleep, then he would tell me he was too tired to go to work. It got so bad that after 7 years, we had to move in with my parents because we couldn't afford our own place anymore, but according to him there was always money for the new game he wanted. Talk about pathological, the man never got upset about anything other than a bad video game. Have you ever seen the Game-Fly commercial "Stupid, Stupid, Stupid" that was him. Well, after getting ignored for a video game for 10 years, I had enough. He had once again gotten fired from his job over the video gaming & calling off of work, while we were still living off of my parents. After 2 weeks not looking for a job and just playing on the PC, my mom told him to leave while I was at work. From what I have heard, 3 years later after draining his unemployment, he still doesn't have a job & is living off of his sister, after getting kicked out of 2 other siblings homes for not looking for a job. I'm now very happy with a gentleman that actually likes being around me and doesn't hide behind the joystick. And yes, we have a PS3 and actually play together sometimes.

      January 17, 2011 at 08:43 | Report abuse |
    • patrick

      This makes perfect sense. Most video games are highly stimulating and with out the stimulus the brain becomes depressed and agitated. Normal life just can't compete so you play more games and that becomes your baseline. You might even become bored with the game and need something even more stimulating so you play harder and your fix is not what it use to be. As much as I miss my game system and online gaming I'm better for having sold it. I will never let my kids go down that path and neither should any parents.

      January 17, 2011 at 08:48 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Completely agree. It's very misleading to say "excessive gaming may lead to depression, anxiety, and poor grades in school" when the reverse is just as plausible. They point to decreased gaming improving the child, but that's not happening in a vaccuum; someone is taking more of an interest in the child if they're not playing video games as much. That child will be the product of their environment. Don't blame games blame the environment you created as a parent. Remember who is the grown up in your house.

      January 17, 2011 at 09:15 | Report abuse |
    • Sad Moonkin

      I still say its caused by them getting /gkick'd for standing in the fire too often

      January 17, 2011 at 09:23 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      I'm 37 years old and have one daughter and a step-son who lived with us from the age of thirteen to seventeen. My step-son played games all the time. The depression, anxiety, and anything else you could actually associate with typical teenage life was not a result of playing games. His IQ is higher than average and he is the typically misunderstood by his real life peers. Gaming, especially on-line multi-player games always gave him the social interaction that the mainstream jocks and prep-girls denied him at school. His only friends at school were much the same way. I have been there myself. We called ourselves "outcasts" and that could be the reason I love Napoleon Dynamite so much: It reminds me of my high school friends and the "good old days". I am so sick of these lame studies that stir up the ignorant masses and persuade the blind sheep to take action against things in which they really have no understanding. Why not get rid of national news? All the major networks feed the public of all ages images of negative social behavior. The headlines are filled with tragedy and despair. Many times I feel myself becoming angry just watching how our politicians and governing corporations spin their corruption into something that appears glorious and worthy of public support. If anyone should take the blame it should be the wicked politicians and corporations that run our country into the sewer. Leave the gaming industry out of it. If anyone is going to spend the time and money on psychological research, why not examine the cause of corruption in our leaders?

      January 17, 2011 at 09:23 | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      This has been going on for almost 30 years now.
      Another complete waste of time and money. How do people get the grants to study something like this?
      Let's study the effects of useless studies on the ignorant and gulible masses.
      You can start by reading the comments here.

      January 17, 2011 at 09:24 | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      I'll rent the sleep deprivation, it seems that our entire nation is quite sleep deprived these days, why not the kids too? They DO follow our example!
      But, one SHOULD also consider the isolation that kids are experiencing in playing those computer games in favor of social interaction and playing with their peers face to face.
      THAT can cause depression and behavioral issues as well, as the child is not able to interact with others socially as well as one who was NOT deprived of social interactions. People are not social "out of the box", but LEARN social behaviors and societal norms by experience. That experience is gained as a child and grows as the child grows developmentally.
      Sitting with their face to monitor, they're not seeing facial expressions, not speaking candidly, not learning body language or even having a scuffle with a childhood friend.
      Then, they go to school and are unacquainted with such things. Nuances are missed. Body language not understood.
      In simpler terms, mom and dad, kick the little ruffian out to play with his or her friends in the fresh air and sunshine!

      January 17, 2011 at 10:43 | Report abuse |
    • ric

      spoken like a true gamer. The common connection is the video games themselves. What more proof do you need. Personally I think it's poor parenting to allow your kid to play video games at home because of the problems it can bring.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:53 | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      I am a veteran gamer of over 20 years. Not depressed. Not anxious. I'm probably one of the more relaxed people. And yes, I used to play in excess of 12 hours a day(weekends) when not working, and six to ten hours a day on weekdays prior to getting married. I hope these claims they are making aren't look at as the "end-all." I believe, as mentioned before me. People who are depressed, anxious, whatever, are more likely to pick up the controller and lose themselves in a "better place" without the stresses and troubles of real life for a while. However, some may let it go to far(see: people who got divorced/fired/dropped out of school because of video games).

      January 17, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
    • ConcernedNetizen

      "Excessive Depression linked to Gaming Addictions", would also work.. no?

      January 17, 2011 at 11:02 | Report abuse |
    • Shark

      Completely agree with Jimmy James. Sorry to break it to the study, but my friends and I were constantly playing video games from grade school through college and into today. My grades never suffered, I never experienced depression/anxiety, but perhaps that's because my parents (until I moved out) made me get off the games and go to bed, and since the consoles or PCs were never IN my room, I had little say in the matter. Almost all the studies on video games are flawed because they fail to get to the root of the problem. Parents need to moderate it, they shouldn't be in the kid's rooms period (if I have children they will NOT have a PC/Laptop/Console in their rooms, there's no need) and they need to quit wasting money on pointless studies when there's millions of gamers out there that are living proof against the arguments put forth.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      In fairness, it does say the study found that those who reduced their gaming also reduced their levels of depression, anxiety, and social phobia. So while it could be mostly depressed people who get addicted to gaming, gaming could also lead to depression. And yes, it could be because of lack of sleep, stress from the games themselves, or any number of things. It could even be lack of in-person contact with other people that makes them depressed. They could also become depressed because their grades drop and their parents get angry, or their significant others fight with them over spending too much time gaming.

      I'm moderately addicted to gaming myself, and yes, I do suffer from depression. But I actually do feel better when I play games. It's a method of escape from my real-world problems. I know a lot of adults who are addicted to gaming. It can definitely cause issues, especially when it causes you to miss work or even not have a job at all. I know a 30-something male who lives with his parents and has no job because he plays World of Warcraft every waking moment of the day. He doesn't want to do anything else, and his parents allow it to happen.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
    • think

      I agree too. I also think it is dangerous to present an umbrella/blanket idea like this. The solution is not that parents should refrain from buying video games, and is not a simple one sentence answer either. I have played video games on this scale at times, and have always been at the top of my class during high school and two degrees. Again, I think the solution is specific to each individual case.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse |
    • MC

      Actually, what would be irresponsible is for them to imply they know more than they do. As, for example, you just did.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Most research is correlative. Reasons are hard to find and I highly doubt parents would let researchers kill their children to get brain slices and figure out what is really going on. Maybe some would...but not many.

      I'm a gamer, but I think it is irresponsible to completely discount something statistically significant and honestly, quite reasonable. Limit how much time your kids sit in front of a TV. Read a book, play a sport...get them to do something. It isn't like they are telling you to completely dispose of videogame systems. Video game addiction is a very very real thing. I've witnessed it tear apart lives first hand. It isn't too mind blowing to figure out there is probably a middle ground between full blown addiction and no interest at all.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
    • baarrt

      @ Sad Moonkin

      And for not looting the darned dogs.

      January 17, 2011 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      I love how they conduct these studies and then make an announcement of the results as if the outcome wasn't expected all along. There is a simple concept here, and that is that too much of anything is a bad thing. A person can take even the most positive thing too far and it will start to have a negative effect on his welfare.

      As far as this particular study, where are the parents? I grew up with video games (remeber Colecovision adn Atari 2600?) and still play them to this day. I'm in my mid-30's know and have never suffered any ill affects from gaming. Why? My parents always taught me that work came first, then you can play. When I came home from school it was homework, chores and then TV/videogames. On the weekends and summer break the same policy applied. And unless the weather prevented it, I had to spend time outside (playing, exercising, socializing with other kids). All things in moderation is the best practice.

      January 17, 2011 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
    • Lucinda

      As the mother of a 14 yr old male–this article/study makes a lot of sense. My gifted son's grades have indeed suffered. We have tried to give him opportunities to monitor/control himself, but we have had to step in. Although socially adept, he spends less time with friends. The usual mask of sullenness and apathy that is just part of being a teen is worse.
      As a college professor I have seen students have to drop out because they choose gaming over going to class.
      This is a real issue and problem people for the folks growing up with this–and if parents don't step in and place boundaries while helping their kids to self monitor and learn to be able to desingage–then there are going to be more problems. To try and pooh pooh this and say it doesn't exist is unrealistic.

      January 17, 2011 at 13:14 | Report abuse |
  2. Jason

    That damn kid is depressed because he is still playing the N64!

    January 17, 2011 at 03:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • c4man

      best comment ever!

      January 17, 2011 at 04:27 | Report abuse |
    • Mccccccc

      Hahahahahah, that really is the best comment ever.

      January 17, 2011 at 04:33 | Report abuse |
    • TheSalad

      That's the first thing I thought when I opened the article and saw that picture.

      January 17, 2011 at 06:18 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      If I was smiled creepily like that when I play video games, I'd be depressed too

      January 17, 2011 at 06:52 | Report abuse |
    • cowhead

      Hey, come on...in all fairness, "Ocarina Of Time" was pretty rad.

      January 17, 2011 at 08:30 | Report abuse |
    • Tbot

      Key word here "WAS" rad... 😛 lol but yeah, thanks for the laugh this morning. Great comment!

      January 17, 2011 at 08:50 | Report abuse |
    • VegasRage

      If I'm depressed and turn to gaming, why is it I happily look forward to it?

      January 17, 2011 at 09:10 | Report abuse |
    • Miles

      Man, you beat me to it. Nothing like putting a N64 controller in the photo to disqualify the content of this lame article.

      January 17, 2011 at 09:13 | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      Well it was done in Singapore.
      Who knows how behind the times they are over there.

      January 17, 2011 at 09:25 | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      He could be playing a game on the Wii virtual console.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:58 | Report abuse |
    • MC

      "Man, you beat me to it. Nothing like putting a N64 controller in the photo to disqualify the content of this lame article."

      Right, Einstein, because the validity of a scientific study is definitely affected by the quality of the photo an editor at cnn.com chooses to illustrate an article citing it.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
    • James

      Beat me to the punch! That was what I was thinking!

      January 18, 2011 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
  3. Ninja Pro

    kid in the pic is depressed because he only has an N64 =( poor guy

    January 17, 2011 at 03:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Iman

      Had me crackinʻ up! Seriously!

      January 17, 2011 at 03:40 | Report abuse |
    • ILikeDucks

      Thats not a N64. Thats an atari.

      February 13, 2011 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
  4. LooneyBin

    Correlation, not causality. It's probably more likely that already-depressed teens would seek solace and try to escape their depression by delving into video games, not that video games would cause normal kids to become depressed.

    January 17, 2011 at 03:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Norm

      It is possible to become depressed if all your friends are really good at Halo and you stink.
      A low score every game can be a real kick in the crotch.

      January 17, 2011 at 09:27 | Report abuse |
  5. BrockleBanter

    This is an entirely baseless argument and not worth even mentioning. If kids happened to be playing video games for more than 19 and 31 hours a week, one should question as to where the parents are in the situation. The absence of the kids' parents seems to me to be a much more attributable factor in the kids' healthy growth and responsible living habits than the games. The playing of video games might actually be a fleeting escape and consequence of the negative environmental affects of a poor home life. Fallacious reasoning. Next.

    January 17, 2011 at 03:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Norm

      It's another electronic baby sitter. People that really don't want to be parents but have kids anyway, have been using the TV and video games to occupy their children for decades now.

      January 17, 2011 at 09:29 | Report abuse |
    • joe317

      Why do all these people assume the parents aren't present as if only kids play video games? I know plenty of parents that are playing the games right along with their kids. I do. All 3 of my younger kids are straight A students and gamers. It's the oldest that has no interest in games that has the worst problems.

      January 18, 2011 at 09:59 | Report abuse |
  6. Jimmy

    Similar things were said about TV when it was all the rage. The key factor left out in most of these goofy studies is the lack of parental intervention. If you let a child play with his favorite toy all day instead of teaching him to do responsible things what do you think the child will choose?

    January 17, 2011 at 03:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Pbn2Au

    On this one I'm going to say that a vast majority of gamers are already depressed because their parents suck at you know, parenting. Boredom, lack of a good nutritional meal, did I mention boredom? Anything that would take your mind off of your parents fighting or sucking at parenting does the body good... until it depresses you more & even the simplest chore (going to school) seems like a daunting task. Yeah, growing up in an unloved environment can really f'up your kids so now I'm attempting to not do that to my own son. It's really easy. You begin by getting off your ass & being a parent (from Latin: parēns = parent) is a caretaker of the offspring in their own species.) Wikipedia, how great is free knowledge?

    January 17, 2011 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MC

      Parents are not responsible for a child's boredom.

      January 17, 2011 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
    • CherryMama

      Bordem is a tricky one. A lot of kids these days are used to being entertained, either by parents or TV/Video Games. I have a 1st grader with lots of buddies. I've noticed some have a hard time because they are so used to being constantly entertained. They are always bugging me for something: I want to watch a movie, come play with me, ect. Others however can play and play and play for hours, lost in immagination, only emerging when they get hungry. It's important that kids learn to entertain themselves. I'm no expert, but I think it helps them learn to think on thier own.

      January 17, 2011 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
  8. Bill Brasky!!!!

    Ha! Only 31 hours a week? No0bs!

    January 17, 2011 at 03:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Jerad

    They have this backwards. People play games over 31hrs/wk because they are depressed, it is a symptom of depression not the cause of it. The game doesn't cause it but is utilized as a coping mechanism to achieve when they are failing elsewhere. Using the criteria they state in this article, if they ever look at PC MMORGs instead of Xbox they will end up classifying 90% of mmorg players as depressed where 40+hrs a week is pretty common.

    January 17, 2011 at 03:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Robert

      MMORPG players are not addicts, we simply know what we like... now excuse me, I've got my daily 5 hour EQ raid to attend.

      January 17, 2011 at 06:01 | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      I'm a professional zombie killer.
      Where else am I going to hone my skills than in a computer game?
      If anyone out there has a zombie infestation, give me a call.
      I find the real world depressing becauee there aren't any zombies I can bash over the head with a guitar.

      January 17, 2011 at 09:33 | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    I think this applies to adults and gaming as well. I've seen it too many times, friends and family falling into seclusion and depression. They just happen to be gamers.

    January 17, 2011 at 03:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jimmy Crack Corn

    Right... Because kids were never depressed before games were around. In fact they should credit games for keeping kids off the streets and out of trouble.

    January 17, 2011 at 03:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. GKCable

    Classic Correlation/Causation fallacy. High school students fail essays for doing that, journalist who do it need to get to bagging my groceries because there is someone out there with basic logic skills who could actually manage a marginally competent job performance.

    For the record... as an avid gamer, I can tell you from personal expiriance: You game because your depressed, you don't become depressed because you game. This should be obvious to anyone. Of course by reversing the causality, parents can attack gaming while conviniently not have to address their childrens' underlying emotional problems.

    January 17, 2011 at 03:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • We all matter.

      Your belief that you are somehow superior to a person who earns their living bagging groceries at a store is very elitist.

      January 17, 2011 at 07:06 | Report abuse |
    • George

      Based on your spelling I would say perhaps you are more qualified to bag groceries than to diagnose illnesses.

      January 17, 2011 at 07:30 | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      It's kind of telling that the comments here attack your grocery bagging quip and have noting to do with your logic.
      But that's typical on one of these sites.
      Gaming is entertainment. just like reading a book or watching a movie. People have been trying to find some kind of connection between gaming and bad behavior for almost 30 years.
      I wonder if life in Singapore is so depressing that kids are trying to hide in a game rather than face it.
      Let's do a study like this in Singapore and then say it's the standard for the whole world. The media picks it up and it's then gospel to those who don't or can't play computer games. What a big surprise.
      I play every night and the only thing that depresses me is the lack of skill I run across out there.
      The rest of the world is ignorantly glued to their TVs watching Glen Beck trying to incite a riot for dollars.
      Now that's depressing.

      January 17, 2011 at 09:12 | Report abuse |
  13. ronin_d

    I played a lot of games while in High School and was severely depressed.
    But video games didn't cause my depression. It was having severe acne, no friends (moved around), and my family life was a living hell. I don't remember one day my parents weren't fighting.

    So go ahead and say video games caused my depression. After all, video games are an easy target. It seems humanity loves to attack anything that actually is enjoyable to do.

    The only thing I'll agree with is gaming should be done in moderation. But to say someone's depression is caused by playing too many games for too long is extremely short-sighted. Unfortunately, the problem is usually a lot more complicated than that.

    Don't be lazy American Academy of Pediatrics and just point the finger at something many commonly depressed kids do while they were depressed in the first place. I'm sure many of them spend a lot of time watching TV, or reading, or anything that involves them being by themselves. But of course, I bet you won't come out with a statement saying too much reading is bad won't you?

    January 17, 2011 at 03:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. IronSight

    If I had to pick between a depressed teen self medicating on drugs, or halo, I pick halo. Doctors, please stop lumping gamers as bad. It's not a disease, it's a hobby. Some people happen to really enjoy their hobby. I can see the next headline, "Dungeons and Dragons linked to teens that have few friends".

    January 17, 2011 at 03:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Norm

      "Studies prove....Model Railroaders are more likely to have small genitals than "normal" people".

      January 17, 2011 at 09:38 | Report abuse |
  15. Mikey B

    And in another study, excess gaming was also linked to never getting laid.

    January 17, 2011 at 03:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • We all matter.

      That joke has been used too many times... and it's not something teenagers should be doing, anyway.

      January 17, 2011 at 07:12 | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      So you're saying that gaming helps prevent teenage pregnancy and the spread of STDs.
      Excellent.......I say it should be a law to have an xbox in every home.

      January 17, 2011 at 09:40 | Report abuse |
    • MC

      @We all: thanks, grandma.

      January 17, 2011 at 12:11 | Report abuse |
  16. krozareq

    "A new study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics" - My study finds that grad students that strive for the money to pay for the pleasure of doing all the work in these studies for an arrogant professor may lead to depression.

    January 17, 2011 at 03:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. xueqiu

    Maybe they play games because they are depressed.

    Either way, who's up for some Starcraft?

    January 17, 2011 at 03:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Farmer

    I'm pretty sure this is backwards.... In my own first-hand research, I have found that depression leads to gaming, not the other way around.... log on some online games dr. gupta.

    January 17, 2011 at 03:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • We all matter.

      FYI, the name of the authors of these articles is in small print below the article. They are usually not by Dr. Gupta.

      January 17, 2011 at 07:14 | Report abuse |
  19. SDY

    Like GKCable, I am a gamer and am also diagnosed with clinical depression.

    It runs in the family for me, and I'm guessing all my aunts and uncles and great-grandparents weren't depressed because they were gamers.

    January 17, 2011 at 04:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. GenXer

    Ummmmm... I was a kid when 25cent arcades were all the rage!
    They were hurting grades back then because no one wanted to do homework (myself included) 'cause we'd always be in the arcades.

    Those were the days. I miss them so much.

    January 17, 2011 at 04:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Norm

      No need to miss them. They still have arcades in some of the malls.
      Just not 25 cents anymore. ;]
      Go have some memories....

      January 17, 2011 at 09:42 | Report abuse |
  21. videogamemaster45

    Maybe because these people suffer depression, anxiety, and poor grades in school, they play video-games to escape their reality. Correlational studies should never prove anything. I personally think video games inspire imagination and creativity. Don't forget about the social interaction between gamers.

    January 17, 2011 at 04:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Norm

      It's hand an eye coordination and split second decisiion making. Ever see a studdy on the "positive" effects of gaming?
      It's a brain excercise. As long as you also have physical hobbies, there's nothing wrong with stimulating the brain every evening instead of staring at the insultingly mindless TV commercials all night.
      "You kids go outside and play".....
      "Uh...mom...it's dark and 25 degrees out there......"

      January 17, 2011 at 09:47 | Report abuse |
  22. Matt

    31 hours is excessive but 19 hours isn't. Seems to me that both are obsessive. 19 hours a week for the non-excessive works out to almost 3 hours a day. It's no wonder America is falling behind. Try having a few family game nights and buy less games for your children.

    January 17, 2011 at 04:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CherryMama

      I agree, Matt. That is A LOT of time in front of screens. I can't even fathom all of the other things that I can be doing with all that time.

      January 17, 2011 at 14:35 | Report abuse |
    • NOVANative

      This study was done in Singapore, so you should say "No wonder Singapore is falling so far behind."

      February 13, 2011 at 21:38 | Report abuse |
  23. Jareder

    This study and claim is a crock of you know what. There was a study done not long ago about the same thing with over 600,000 people over what I think was a 5 yr period and the results came out the complete opposite. It completely refutes and contradicts the results of this article. I think any doctor who reports, pushes, and tries to fool others with this crap should do the world a favour and strap some bricks to themsevles and jump in the ocean.

    January 17, 2011 at 04:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MC

      No, moron, there was not.

      January 17, 2011 at 12:11 | Report abuse |
  24. A_Man

    Can't... Stand... The... Awful grammar...

    January 17, 2011 at 04:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Hahah

    Of course depression is linked with gaming. Gaming has become so much better in the past decade. It has flourished like NO other art in this world. This art immerses you like no other art. Great art makes you reflect. Great games do too. However, it will also show you how sick and truly dark our modern society is. Gaming doesn't cause depression. The current state of humanity does.

    Video games are art.

    January 17, 2011 at 04:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • A_Man


      January 17, 2011 at 04:27 | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      I have to agree there.
      And A-Man....if you could just pry yourself away from the TV and Glen Beck (depressing wow) and try them, you might also discover you still have a mind of your own.

      January 17, 2011 at 09:50 | Report abuse |
  26. Eugene Hernandez

    i dont know what we would do if we dident have gameing and its what we do to

    January 17, 2011 at 04:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Eugene Hernandez

    i dont think that all people who go throw depression play video games yea some do but not all its somthing we need

    January 17, 2011 at 04:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. SDY

    Of course, "Depression" is a poorly defined set of symptoms that may have multiple causes, some of which are purely psychological (feedback loops where negative breeds negative), some of which may be "normal" (variations in how people's bodies handle serotonin and dopamine), and some of which may be pathological (i.e. thyroid problems, sleep problems, etc...).

    Until we have a better description of what depression is, or at least a better case definition (such as exists for bipolar disorder), speculating about what causes it is just going to be a long list of post hoc fallacies. There are subtypes defined for major depressive disorder, so it's not like people aren't trying to be more rigorous, but pop culture psychology is just a bunch of confirmation bias.

    January 17, 2011 at 04:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • We all matter.

      I wish I could read articles by you! Great comment.

      January 17, 2011 at 07:20 | Report abuse |
  29. bob

    i read a study that concluded that studies r stupid this 1 just proved that 1 right

    January 17, 2011 at 04:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Hahah

    A_Man. I assume you direct "No." at all my opinions. Well, you have not one clue about video games then. Many are horrible soulless reproductions. BUT there are some that are truly. art. you mad bro? you mad that art is past canvas and bad classical music ? yeah brah, you mad. our society is disgusting. allowing children to escape from this world and to expect anything other than depression when they see the world with their eyes is laughable. its not healthy to play video games all the time and I would know. but i know why i played a lot. because this world is beyond human repair. good luck with your electric cars and advanced medicine you are only making the problem worse.

    January 17, 2011 at 04:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Jon

    I agree with this study, but with a few caveats:

    1) I haven't research this study itself to be critical of its methods and conclusions
    2) Educational games are not the same as entertainment-only games

    Imagine if your son is playing a game that teaches him math or physics or history. How would you feel then?

    January 17, 2011 at 04:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Norm

      If my son wasn't playing sports games or killing monsters, I would be worried.
      The key here is the "when" of computer games. It's when parents allow their kids to play.

      January 17, 2011 at 09:54 | Report abuse |
  32. Jon

    I'd also like to turn this study on its head.

    There're many people that have full-time jobs and guess what, they sit at a computer all day.

    This is a continuation of my last reply.

    Educational games are not the same as entertainment-only games.

    It's not being at a computer for an extended period of time that's bad. It's whether what you're doing is productive or not!

    January 17, 2011 at 04:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Jon


    Is this study saying that sitting at a computer or console and playing GAMES is bad...

    Or is it saying that sitting at a computer or console is bad...

    Because there're a lot of people with full-time jobs that sit at a computer or console for 8 and even 12 hours at a time.

    January 17, 2011 at 04:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Jon

    Because I can say to you with a straight face that have done both of these:

    1) Sat at a computer all day playing games for weeks at at ime
    2) Sat at a computer all day for college or for a programming hobby

    And guess what? I got depressed playing games because I felt worthless. Doing programming or college work made me feel productive and even accomplished. I felt precisely the opposite. So I think a more careful is needed when approaching these kinds of studies and walking away with a conclusion.

    January 17, 2011 at 05:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Norm

      Well gee....this is a no brainer. If you sat playing games all day for weeks (which I doubt) then you have no life and are pretty much worthless to yourself and others. Anything done in such an extreme is unhealthy and obsessive/compulsive.
      It shows a certain "type" of character flaw. I can see how that would be depressing for anyone to realise they have absolutely nothing going on in their lives.
      Go for a walk in the woods or a bike ride.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:11 | Report abuse |
  35. tiabear

    I was depressed as a child. It had nothing to do with gaming. We had board games. We had ponies. It had to do with bullying by my whole family harassing me every single day of my life. Its not video games. Those games are probably what is taking kids away from harrassment and they probably get harrassed even more. Stupid people make stupid assumptions. Get real folks don't blame depression on video games.

    January 17, 2011 at 05:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Jon

    And one more thing. I went through a period in school where I got teased a lot. I went on my computer because it was the only place I was comfortable. I played a lot of games back then. I played games through college. My gpa in both cases stayed at 3.8.

    If I was a parent I would be careful about this kind of thing. I would ask my kid what he is doing with his computer. I think it's fine to be at a computer for several hours because that's what many people do in full-time work. It's a good preparation for the workforce. The question is WHAT is your kid doing? Ask him and find out. If it's not productive don't let him or her do it for longer than a few hours otherwise they will ultimately suffer from it psychologically based on my own experience. Believe me you, extended periods of time playing games makes you feel worthless and purposeless. Your job as a parent is to figure out how to make your son or daughter feel useful and purposeful. If they like being at a computer, figure out how they can combine the two, their interests and a feeling of self worth, into something that will lead to a future career.

    January 17, 2011 at 05:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Jon

    If you leave your son or daughter locked up in their room it's your own fault. Blaming the room or hte computer is an excuse. A good parent is proactive and works with their children to find a middleground where everyone can be satisfied. Remember, life isn't about computer or no computer. Life isn't about black or white. Some people were born to sit at computers, it's the way of the world. If they're meant for it, life will show them. But it would certainly help if parents worked with their children more to understand how they can help them be their best as opposed to discouraging them from being themselves and pursuing their dreams. I mean, did it ever occur to the parent that their child is already trying to be their best?

    January 17, 2011 at 05:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Jon

    So again.. I'd like to see a different study. This time with educational games that teach the gamer real-life knowledge. Things like math, physics, history, and other subjects tied to real life skills and topics. My hunch is that this is all related to feelings of self-worth. If you're playing a non-educational game it's like throwing your time away. How is that helping you gain a feeling of self-worth? It isn't. Now a game that teaches you something real is different. I'd like to see a study explore this further.

    January 17, 2011 at 05:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Here we go

      I agree with you for a lot of this, except for one thing. I don't believe that what you consider non-educational games are not exactly helpful. There are also games that show the player a different world, such as many adventure platforming games, which may not on the surface teach the skills you listed, but have their own merits. Some games teach hand-eye cordination and timing. I know it may look like you're just making a character hop around, but dodging those attacks takes some thought, strategy, and skill. It's been shown that video games have helped surgeons develop greater precision by the focus it takes for that sort of thing. Strategy aside, there is also the fact that many games tell a story, and are just another medium such as TV, movies, or books. A lot of kids will find something in a character that they either identify with, or simply want to see in order to enjoy that plot. This is a good thing. Characters open our world view and show us different points of view. It may encourage creativity, inspire people who have their own ideas to draw, write, or talk about. You never know. Talk to some gamers some time and ask what it is that they like about their games, and why. You'll be very surprised, and learn that there is a community that likes to share these things.

      January 17, 2011 at 09:36 | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      What you're suggesting sounds like extended homework. These kids sit in mind numbing school all day getting that useless (in real life) garbage jammed down their throats. When they come home, they want to escape that boring crap and immerse themselves in a fantasy world for a few hours. Nothing wrong with that. It's the modern day equivelant of getting into a good book. Only here it's interactive. I would love to see just one study on the positive effects of gaming.
      I guess the dinosaurs that dish out the grants, aren't going to pay for something that goes against one of their pet peeves.
      I wonder if it's due to the fact that kids find it more fun in a game than hanging out with their lame parents?
      What do you do with your kids in the evening besides nagging them about homework and yelling at them to go to bed?
      Get Wii or Kinect for xbox and play "with" them. Why are we always trying to find a way to turn our children into little replicas of ourselves?

      January 17, 2011 at 10:21 | Report abuse |

    the misfits in the chess clubs' depression must have been caused by the chess then in this line of thinking i suppose ...

    January 17, 2011 at 05:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • We all matter.

      I hope my children play chess and NOT american football. Playing chess is unrelated to depression.

      January 17, 2011 at 07:24 | Report abuse |
  40. LOW LYF


    January 17, 2011 at 05:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. LOW LYF


    January 17, 2011 at 05:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. JH1

    Spurious correlation. Kids who play a lot of video games have a high rate of depression and anxiety. This does not mean the depression and anxiety is caused by the games. It could very well mean that kids who are pre-disposed to having high levels of depression and anxiety are drawn to playing video games and are more susceptible to addiction of any kind itself.

    The same can be said about alcoholics. The vast majority of people who drink are not alcoholics. The addiction is caused by a predisposition, not by the product itself. Those without the predisposition are unlikely to become addicted.

    January 17, 2011 at 05:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Lacrosse

    So basically what they are saying is that because a kid who is depressed plays alot of video games that video games are bad. Ok what if the kid were to read books because they were depressed and consistently just read books and stayed up all night reading? hmmm would books then be bad for kids.... Quit picking on the gaming company's. Some people use video games as an escape outlit... not everyones life is jolly green gum drops... its pathetic to see what someone with a college degree decides to write about with absolutely no facts or reason behind it. There are plenty of games out now today that cause kids to actually problem solve instead of just randomly shoot around, even though those are the fun ones, but still the gaming industry has come along way since pong back in the day... for instance they tried blaming obesity on gaming, it doesnt cause it, laziness causes it but what did the gaming industry do... came out with WII fit, or Xbox Kinect, and the PS3 has a game that can have you get up and move... I have a full time job and i play video games probably bout 3 hours a day just as a relaxation kind of thing, and yet im not depressed... so based on this statistic i guess you could call it... completly made up one... i am depressed and therefore should sell my xbox and do something different... ya forget that. srry but when on a deployed status if the internet isnt working, you can only go to the gym so much... gaming is all we have other than sleep... so just give it a rest on this trying to blame the gaming industry.

    January 17, 2011 at 06:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. IronSight

    Video games are harmful. Music is harmful. Television is harmful. Computers are harmful. Everything is harmful. All except real life war, that's brave and honorful. They have to have the right upbringing so they can die before they get a chance to die in a war over oil. Remember folks... Fun = Bad. Murder = Good

    January 17, 2011 at 06:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • IronSight

      wow, I jumbled that up bad

      January 17, 2011 at 06:11 | Report abuse |
  45. brendasmithy17

    I just now received my free product sample from name brand companies, quite a few of them from "123 Get Samples" online

    January 17, 2011 at 06:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Chris

    I spend quite a bit of time playing video games. I feel this real sense of being unplugged from this reality and being plugged into another when I play a game I really like. Coming back to the real world is a real let down. This world is horrifying when compared to some of the worlds which are created by game developers. I for one wish I could plug into a game permanently. Unfortunately, that just isn't possible yet. I say yet because this is concept we are hurdling towards. Who needs alternate universes when we can have alternate realities?

    January 17, 2011 at 06:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Nick

    Oh, look. How novel. Doctors making their data match their already pre-concieve conclusions in an attempt to give themselves more patients and make more money. Never seen that one before!

    January 17, 2011 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nick

      I especially love, "If they were socially awkward then they were more likely to be addicted and if they spent a greater amount of time then the average kids playing games," explained Gentile."

      What? Kids who don't fit in and are socially awkward are more likely to find things to do in their house that doesn't force them to socialize in situations that make them uncomfortable? Clearly it's the video game's fault.

      January 17, 2011 at 06:32 | Report abuse |
  48. Pathological Gamer

    As a life long gamer of 30yrs i feel they have the cause and effect backwards here. i was an insecure kid who was bullied constantly through my childhood. i used my games to cope with the depression. It may not have been the best route in hind site but it did help me through the tough time.

    p.s. If someone is going to publish an article about a Topic they should at least be able to pick a relevant image to associate with it.

    January 17, 2011 at 07:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. bull plop

    Cold day in hell when I believe anything coming out of IA State without independent verification

    January 17, 2011 at 07:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Red

      Bull.....plop, Gary – That was a decidedly evil act. One more of those and Im changing your alignment to chaotic EVILLLLLLLL

      January 17, 2011 at 08:48 | Report abuse |
  50. tony

    For those of you who are adults with school age children, are you allowing your children to become 'gamers'? and do they display those symptoms of depression, poor grades etc. comments?

    January 17, 2011 at 07:31 | Report abuse | Reply
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