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Are video games bad for kids? Not so much, study says

November 16, 2010|By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times

Parents may not like how much their teens play video or computer games, but gaming appears to be harmless for most kids, a new Yale University study suggests.

The survey of 4,028 teens found that playing video games didn't lead to unhealthy behaviors in boys, who accounted for the majority of gamers in the study. But 5% who reported "problematic" or addictive gaming habits were more likely to smoke cigarettes, use drugs and get into serious fights. Check out the full study, published Tuesday in the journal Pediatrics.

This likely won’t be the last word on the effects of gaming on kids. The Los Angeles Times reports that judges  and scientists find it difficult to interpret such studies in deciding whether some games are too violent for minors.

Still, parents have the final say about what's healthy for their kids. Here’s a good primer that sorts out myths about video games and kids from PBS.org. Video Game Addiction's website offers signs to look for in children who may be getting hooked.

Of course, as the L.A. Times reports, all that gaming could translate into a college degree. Really.

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