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Hyperactivity And Videogames Linked 81

Thanks to BBC News for their article discussing claims that hyperactive children spend much longer playing computer games than healthy children. According to the UK-based research, "Children with ADHD were more likely to play games based on fighting", and "..spent 11.3 hours a week playing computer games, double the time spent by the other [non-hyperactive] group." The researcher, Dr. Justin Williams, said that the hyperactive children "...were the least socially able and the most technically able, which leads them to prefer computer games to social interaction", but didn't condemn games completely, adding: "It's important for parents to be fully engaged in what their children are getting from their media diet... there are lots of good computer games to play."
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Hyperactivity And Videogames Linked

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  • again? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PaganRitual ( 551879 )
    isnt this just the whole causation/correlation thing again?
  • by Nasarius ( 593729 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @09:10PM (#6916666)
    The study doesn't seem to suggest anything about videogames causing ADHD, so I don't see what the big deal is. There's not a lot to conclude based on this study except "hyperactive kids like videogames".
    • The thing is, studies which don't address correlation/causation are idiotic - they don't provide any useful information, and are just likely to be misinterpreted.
      • That's not true. Correlation is very important. For one thing, it justifies looking for causation when that's possible. In many cases when you're studying human behaviour, there are limits on just what you can do to prove causation (what, give a bunch of videogames to kids and see if you can "make" them ADHD? There was a scandalous attempt to prove the role of trauma in creating stuttering that has had reverberations in the American psychology scene ever since - human test restrictions are now quite stringe
    • by seinman ( 463076 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @09:18PM (#6916720) Homepage Journal
      There's not a lot to conclude based on this study except "hyperactive kids like videogames".

      And that's somehow not important? Knowing trends of a group of people with a certain affliction can greatly help in diagnoising it. Especially something like ADHD, which is a title thrown on every kid who ever gets bored. The more things like this that we can use to discover the true problems with people, the better.
      • ...ehh, that should be "diagnosing." Damn me and my dipshit ways. Just pointing that out before the trolls do.
      • 11.3? pansies.

        im 20, married, 2 kids...i know i play a dozen hours of games a week, and 5 years ago when i was a kid? at least 30 a week, maybe more like 40.

        of course, being in a small town with pop-culture crazy kids (or rednecks, oh the agony) and a strip-mall not even deserving of the title of strip-mall, videogames, LEGO's and books (fiction, history, computers) were about all i did. oh, and school, but i didnt really do anything there so it doesnt count does it?

      • And that's somehow not important? Knowing trends of a group of people with a certain affliction can greatly help in diagnoising it. Especially something like ADHD, which is a title thrown on every kid who ever gets bored. The more things like this that we can use to discover the true problems with people, the better.

        Do you know any young boys that don't need to be ripped away from their game consoles to do their homework? I don't. Kids like games. Make a game readily accessible right in their own homes wi
      • Knowing trends of a group of people with a certain affliction can greatly help in diagnoising it. Especially something like ADHD, which is a title thrown on every kid who ever gets bored

        I don't think this can help at all with diagnosis, and I think that it's things like this being used for diagnosis that cause the title to be thrown at far more kids than actually have it.

        Additionally, I think it's a sign that many diagnosed ADHD children may in fact simply be children that aren't being taught properly fo
    • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @09:28PM (#6916794)
      "The study doesn't seem to suggest anything about videogames causing ADHD, so I don't see what the big deal is."

      The big deal comes from all the Kyle's Moms out there who try to twist this information into a crusade to put games down for good. I wouldn't mind if they were saying "watch your kids", but they tend to go a lot farther than that.

      I'm overly sensitive to this topic because I've watched a number of people stand against video games, and none of them have proven to me that they know what they're talking about. This particular case may not warrant that reaction, but I cannot help but think this'll be used anyway. Video games have had a very positive effect on my life, in many ways I owe my career to them. Maybe I'm unusual, but I paid careful attention to how games communicate ideas to the audience in a fun way. My studies of these practices landed me some rather important skills in the UI development and testing world.

      To make a long story short, these types of articles have ramifications down the road. Parents are afraid of external influences they're not familiar with. Stuff like this can and will be taken negatively. "Uh oh, he's hyperactive, better sue Nintendo."
    • I have ADD/ADHD and I cannot stand fighting games. Gimme a good RPG or a sports game (except hockey because it always ends in fisticuffs) and I'll play it 10 hours straight. But I can't sit 5 minutes with a fighting game, even if the toons have huge breasts (DOA).

      I think this study is a pawn. It is intended to get parents to observe their kids playing video games and assume they have ADHD. Then the drug companies can get even more rich sedating more children.
    • Exactly. Who's to say that the correlation doesn't result from predisposed subjects choosing the videogames because it provides a good outlet for their natural inclinations?

      It might be much more useful to know, for example, whether or not such an outlet is helpful or hurtful in their long-term cognitive development. Given that nature often takes the shortest path, I might not be surprised to find out that it somehow even helps.

      Note that, personally, I rather dislike videogames.

  • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @09:19PM (#6916730)
    ... making video games look bad. Where's the research that says "The children that displayed these negative tendancies also had parents who use a TV as a babysitter.."?

    I'd really like to know who's spearheading these research studies. The popularity of video games has skyrocketed in the last 20 years, yet these negative trends that are being 'observed' haven't risen at the same rate. How come none of these eggheaded morons aren't looking at those numbers?
    • Actually violent crime is actually going down, same with the murder rate. If videos games had been the cause of an increase, some stats should be available.

      A third of those with ADHD preferred fighting-type video games while 59% preferred cartoons.

      Even the article states that 2/3rd of the kids with ADHD perfer cartoons. Go Ren and Stimpy!
  • a load of bull (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BortQ ( 468164 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @09:28PM (#6916795) Homepage Journal
    Man, I hate all this ADD, ADHD bullshit. Kids have always been hyper, that's just the way they like to be. It used to be that parents would stop them with a stern beating. Nowadays they use a stern dosage of ritalin or something.

    Me and my siblings were always causing trouble and stuff, but we weren't medicated as a result, our parents encouraged the better sides of hyperactivity (sports, creative thinking) and we all turned out just fine.

    • Re:a load of bull (Score:3, Informative)

      by millia ( 35740 )
      okay, i don't have time to dismiss this completely, but let's address this:

      1) stern beatings. yes, that works well when your mind can't concentrate. beatings work real well at fixing those chemical imbalances. i don't rule out corporal punishment- but it's not going to stop a kid from fidgeting.

      2) add/adhd bullshit. while there is a larger prevalence today- just like there's more autism- it's always been here. mom can remember kids who were smart and talented- but just not good at that sitting in a desk t
      • While I certainly don't agree with the original poster I do think there is some BS these days.

        What people call "chemical imbalances" today used to be called personality. Nowdays if your depressed or overly happy its time to pull out the medication because you have a "chemical imbalance."

        If someone is trying to jump off a building because they think they can fly I'll agree there is a problem but if someone is just a tad different let them be.

      • ADD/ADHD has become a blanket diagnosis. You'll see all manner of children pegged, some of which have serious disabilities and some of which just don't fit comfortably into the system. We are quick to designate names to disorders, but pretty unreliable at diagnosing the many gradations and complexities of these things.
    • It's not you and your siblings that were the AD(H)D kids.

      It's that moron in class that always ran around doing stupid stuff, even when the "normal hyper" kids would back off.

      He's the one working down at the 7-11 around the corner. You know, the one that has a Coke machine that never seems to have the ice dispenser filled...

    • IANAP, but I've read a ton of material on ADHD in addition to long discussions with my mother (who is a first grade teacher). The problem we have with the ADHD stigma (that bleeds to my problem with articles like this) is that the true ADHD kid can't sit still for ANYTHING and can't concentrate on ANYTHING to save his /her life. If your kid can't sit still in school but can come home and play Pokemon on his GBA for 4 hours, your kid isn't hyperactive.

      What's even worse in schools (at least in the US) is th
      • ADD, like anything else, is a continuum. there are worse cases, there are milder cases. some kids can't sit still, some can't focus but can sit still, etc.
        some of this borders on asperger's, too.
        i was add from early on- diagnosed at 3, after being thought of as autistic. i fidgeted a bit, but mostly just couldn't keep up concentration on a subject- unless it was something i was trying to figure out. once i was shown, and helped, and learned how to do something, the concentration issue went away. my whole li
      • The problem we have with the ADHD stigma (that bleeds to my problem with articles like this) is that the true ADHD kid can't sit still for ANYTHING and can't concentrate on ANYTHING to save his /her life. If your kid can't sit still in school but can come home and play Pokemon on his GBA for 4 hours, your kid isn't hyperactive.

        I think you need to try talking to someone with the condition, cause you've really touched on a common misperception about ADD/ADHD here. ADHD does not mean that you have no attent

    • YOU turned out just fine. Good for you. You were hyperactive, not ADD/ADHD. Something that you and others seem unable or unwilling to understand is that there is a difference between ADHD and simply hyperactive kids. Sure, most kids are hyper, and it is a part of growing up. Most do not have ADHD. ADHD is the extreme end of the spectrum, when the child has no control over their attention span, no understanding of time or consequence of action, and an inability to learn it. ADHD is what you find when the eve
      • What is it about this condition that people are so angry about it?

        We're angry about the fact that a possibly real condition has been expanded to 'explain' the behavior of perfectly normal kids. Medication is the proper response to some things, but way to many kids are being given ritalin when a lot of them don't need it.

        • In that case I completely agree with you. That's misdiagnosis, it's a big problem, and it affects not only the kids themselves, but indirectly everyone who has the real condition and actually needs treatment (and no, a "stern beating" is never a good treatment, whatever the cause of the behavior). It reflects and bolsters a lack of understanding of the affliction. But comments like this on Slashdot, which are frequently moderated up, also add to this stigma surrounding it.

          But even with a proper diagnosis,
          • but labeling stuff as 'bullshit' is part of the same easy-answer philosophy that figures drugs alone will solve problem.

            laziness is easy. work is hard.
  • And we always forget (Score:3, Interesting)

    by M3wThr33 ( 310489 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @09:30PM (#6916808) Homepage
    How often do we just diagnose every little boy with ADD or ADHD? Honestly, how many boys ages 4-10 have you EVER KNOWN TO BEHAVE? It's not the majority, so surely that means it's the GOOD kids who have problems. /me plays the frasier video game!
    • Exactly. In some localities, 20% of the kids are diagnosed with ADHD and put on drugs... I don't know about you, but if 1/5 of your population exhibits a trait, shouldn't you start wondering if maybe that trait is normal and not a disorder? Remember that until just a few years ago, homosexuality was considered a psychiatric disorder too...
      • My mother says I have ADD. I probably do, but she still doesn't trust the effects of Ritalin. I turned out just fine.

        You know the funny thing? Growing up, I had some problems. The doctor recommended that my parents buy me an NES to improve my hand-eye coordination. Well, it helped. ;)
        • My step-brother was diagnosed at an early age as having ADD, and was eventually put on Ritalin, and then on Dextroamphetamines. Eventually he encouraged his mom to refuse the drugs, and pulled him out of public school to put him in a private school that used smaller class sizes and more customized curriculums.

          In that environment he basically got well ahead of his grade level and was able to stop the very long (~6-8 hours) marathon homework sessions that he and his mom would have every nite. He went back t
  • Hyper kids play a lot of video games. You can't really blame the video games, any more than you could blame the food. The food doesn't cause obesity, the overreating does. Video games don't cause ADD but playing them too damn much could very well contribute to it. Then again maybe video games don't contribute at all to ADD, maybe ADD makes you play video games. it's nice that they've found a link but they've failed to establish cause and effect.
    • Fat people don't nessicarly overeat. I personally eat more in any given day than just about everyone, yet my mass is well under control. It isn't even exercise (that helps). My body uses more energy. Thyroid problems do run in the family, and I'm a borderline case. My aunt went from 98lbs to 96lbs in one month eating 5000 calories a day. (Soon after doctors removed her thyroid, it was causing serious problems)

      Tarditionally the biggest eaters are teenage boys, who due to their growth can eat a lot m

      • The two fattest people I've ever known are also the two most gluttonous eaters I've ever known. They'd pile more cafeteria shitfood onto their trays then anybody I've ever seen. The fatter you are the higher your base metabolic rate and the more you need to eat to sustain your girth. Not every fatty in the country can blame their problems on thyroids.
  • It's all bull anyway (Score:3, Interesting)

    by El ( 94934 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @09:53PM (#6916943)
    The amazing thing is that what were once considered normal variation in humans are now considered disorders. Does being classified as having ADHD make the kids _better_ at the games? Then maybe it is a beneficial mutation. Were the effects of medication factored out? Obviously none of the kids without ADHD were on medication, so differences in the the ADHD group may be attributable to their medication, not their ADHD.
    • The amazing thing is that what were once considered normal variation in humans are now considered disorders.

      I wonder how many people who make a big deal about racial diversity and inclusion fall for the ADHD scam forcing their children into a corner of society to be labeled with a disorder for their whole childhood.

      One step forward, one step back.
    • Not really. ADHD is caused by the brains inability to distinguish between stimuli it should ignore, and stimuli it should pay attention to. The brain sees any stimulus thats stands out from the background in any minor way and instantly says "pay attention to that!!!!" whether it be a lightbulb, a crack in the floor, a piece of paper, the pinging sound that comes up the heat registers after the furnace has stopped etc, etc, etc.

      The reason why ADHD kids play more, and like videogames is because they are

      • So the kid doesn't find the teacher and the remedial material they teach in public schools to be more interesting than the actual world around them? Let's give him amphetamines!
        • Its got nothing to do with "this stimulus is more interesting than that one", the problem is with ADHD kids is that they cant properly distinguish between stimuli that are genuinly interesting - the ones they want to concentrait on - and all other stimuli in the envrionment - the ones they dont want to concentrait on.

          It just so happens that videogames are such a huge stimulus that they can block out every other stimulus in the envrionment.

          Its a brain dysfunction and has nothing to do with the childs l

      • Again, why is the inability to focus on one thing to the exclusion of all others a disability? In nature, animals that focus exclusively on what's in front of them and ignore the predators creeping up behind them are known as "dinner". If you ask me, the ability to pay attention to a bad teacher and parrot back everything they say should be considered a disability... we live in an age where even Einstein would have be forcibly medicated because he didn't fit in with the "norm"!!! Doesn't this scare anybody?
  • First they say playing videogames makes you lazy and passive, now they make you hyperactive? Can they ever make up their minds?! =)
  • by millia ( 35740 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @09:56PM (#6916955) Homepage

    okay, i'm a.d.d.- and that's one of the reasons i like working with computers. computers give feedback, constantly. they don't get bored- but neither are they capricious. (well, that's a simplification, to be sure, but...)
    and video games are the same thing- although, they can be even more addictive.
    now, i am not universally sucked in- nowadays, i have to work hard to keep interest up through boring patches, like with KOTOR. but, i grew up with the atari system, when games were much simpler.
    i submit to you that today's kids don't necessarily see new games as any more complicated than i saw my atari.

    point is, ANY device that could give feedback, puzzles, and challenges, to add kids, will naturally suck them in.

    unfortunately, as somebody pointed out simply above, cause and effect are to be called into question. this also won't help the gamer's situations, when confronted by the same people who are overdiagnosing add.

    ah well. it's a constant battle, fighting stupidity...
  • nowhere does this article imply that videogames gives said kid ADHD, but rather kids with ADHD tend to play more video games.

    This fundemntal difference makes this argument fundementally different, and far less deletrious than many of you who havn't rtfa have supposed.

  • tall, athletic kids were found to be more likely to play basketball, and unpopular kids were found to be more likely to spend friday nights at home watching TV rather than out on dates...
  • Well, duh!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by El ( 94934 ) on Tuesday September 09, 2003 @10:08PM (#6917044)
    The only conclusion that you can reach from this study is that kids spend more time doing what they are naturally good at then what they are bad at... seems like it wouldn't take a sociologist to tell you that!
  • More scientists that are involved with psychology theories in video game playing are coming from a childhood of game playing. Older generations who have seen their kids rot in front of the consoles they gave to them on some Christmas have much more hatred of gaming than the ones who received those consoles on Christmas.

    So from proponents of banning violent games and limiting playing time for kids to proponents shouldn't take much time. So we'll finally start seeing papers on how good gaming really is for t
  • Okay, I am a guy that played a ridiculous amount of games as a kid (Mega Man 2 was the best ever), who was diagnosed with ADD in high school, and who subsequently took prescriptions for it. Anyway, based on my experiences with the phenomenon of ADD, I would actually support the case that video games cause ADD. Consider that human beings enjoy visual stimuli. We get a small amount of pleasure from seeing new things. And consider that video games provide a ridiculous amount of stimuli. There's all kinds of
    • while that is possible, it's not a guarantee. there's a lot of us who grew up before video games who have it.
      and before you ask, i did watch tv, but not much. mom limited me to mr. rogers, pretty much. most of my stimuli came from playing with friends, and reading. we got our first game system when i was in the 7th grade- and pong wasn't exactly huge in the stimulation field...

      life in general does give more stimuli today, that's for sure. but life today also means ingesting god knows how many chemicals tha
  • Only 11.3 hours a week? Man, kids have gotten so lazy these days. On a good weekend, I used to be able to get in 20+ hours of gameplay, and then there was the rest of the week.
  • I've never been diagnosed with ADHD, but strongly suspect I have some degree of it. Every time I have tried to learn a programming language more complicated then good old Microsoft QuickBasic, I lose my motivation while getting to grasp the basics- usually about the time when the book instructs you to write an ultra-simplified record keeping suite.

    Seeing this article makes me wonder if my experiences with programming are another indicator of ADHD.

  • Though I've never been formally diagnosed, I've taken a few of the ADD tests and scored well into the "You need serious help" rank. Also, I've been an avid gamer since I was 6.

    Still, I don't think that games caused, or even aggrevated, any sort of hyperactive condition. I simply think that it was one of the few things that was able to hold my attention span.

    Video games are typically fast paced and quite stimulating (even the slowest-paced RPG is still more stimulating that your average book). Second
  • Games + ADD. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kontrol ( 705832 )
    I have both ADD and Dyslexia. as far as I can remember.(age:28) I've had zero problems playing video games. because it keeps my mind active on something. Reading is a different story it's slower and I lose contact very quickly. Mind wonders offen etc. ADHD isnt as bad as everything thinks it is, it's very bad at a young age because you havent learned how to control it-it as well yet. I have to agree with the doctors that we(people with add) like to keep our mind moving with video games, and keeps us active
    • I have had this theory for a long time that I'm just waiting for doctors to confirm via research. I feel that video games allow a person with one of the aformentioned disabilities to focus tame their issue for a period of time. The interactive aspect of games requires all levels of a persons concentration and attention, from hearing to visual to motor skills. Through this people who have a hard time keeping their mind from wandering generally find it they can hold their attention on the screen with a con
      • Your observation's pretty accurate, but I'd disagree on the last part. People with these conditions are generally not able to function well in real life anyway. Video games are an escape, but for people with real ADHD issues, they can't really make it much worse.
    • Of course, it's not a problem when bosses expect programmers to work on a problem for 12-16 hours straight a day until it's fixed....That's not normal either! Many tech positions are incapable of being performed by "normal" people. But in the past, I think there was more focus on personal control [hyper-strict schools & public perception of kids] and that is particularly noticable for kids with ADD. They still need to learn that their actions need to be in line evein if their attention isn't. "Moder
  • I play video games all the time and I don't have a short attention spa
  • I am hyperactive, yes I am a computer programer. But I was hyperactive way before videogames existed, lets see the Apple II was launched when I went into grade 7, and if you remeber it was a while before video games came out for it. What I did was Read a pocket book a day, so by the logic applied here there is a link between reading books and hyperactivity. What hyperactivity is is excatly what the word means. we are hyper aware of our suroundings. Little things that most people ignore around them, the s
    • I'm 30, and I thought when I was a kid that ADD was a childhood thing. It becomes more manageable with maturity but it never goes away. I don't think it is a disease, though. I think it's a symptom of a mind that can process information quickly. Normal people seem strangely apathetic to me. Sometimes I think the 20 percent of people whose eyes are overrelaxed and whose mouths are open to breathe are the diseased ones. Maybe I am a bigot or an elitist. Who gives a shit? At least I can breathe through my nose
  • hyperactive children spend much longer playing computer games than healthy children

    Using the word "unhealthy" (implied) for a behavioral difference is not warranted, here.

    Or, is ADHD a disease that really needs the social baggage of other diseases, such as syphillis?

    "My little Johnny is special and he needs his special pills to make him normal, says Mommy. "I need to be treated specially and differently from the other normal kids, especially during my formative years where my personality is still takin
  • The reason that ADD kids (I'm one of the adults with it) spent so much time with games or television is that we hyperfocus. Not being able to hold one's attention for a period of time is only one part of ADD. The other is that sometimes once we do focus our attention on something, we tend to hyperfocus on that one thing. And only on that one thing.

    For me, it's games and reading. For instance, if I'm reading the newspaper, my wife has to call my time several times before she can get my attention. It's

    • Exactly. I have it and I'm the exact same way. When I'm into a game, the rest of the world doesn't exist. When I finally shut down the game and come to bed my wife will bring up a conversation we had while I was playing, and I'll have no idea what she's talking about.

      But like you said, it's not just a video game issue. The same thing happens whether I'm reading, watching TV, driving or staring out the floor.
      • Driving is the only thing that really scares me. I'll be driving home from work and then all of a sudden I'll look around me and think, "Wait, how did I get here?" I'll think back and I can't remember going through the last three stoplights. It's like I'm on autopilot while I'm thinking about whatever I'm thinking about. The rest of the time, I use it to my advantage. If I'm working on a computer problem, I get so focused on it I don't stop for anything. I might miss a meal or two (yes, I will forget
  • Ok, has anyone read the article? It says kids with AHDH play more games, fighting games, than other kids. But it actually says AHDH kids prefer watching cartoons to playing video games. Then it notes that anti-social kids prefer video games to social activities. And then it says video games aren't the cause of these things. Here's a fresh and in-depth analysis: m e=News&file=article&sid=157&mode=thread&order=0&th old=0
  • I just hate it when people say I don't get enough socialization!(See, I'm home-schooled, and only 15) Well, anyway, I don't see anything in socializing with a bunch of people who are a good deal below my intellect. (girls, in general) I would much rather sit down to a nice game of NetHack, and socialize with an oracle, who actually knows stuff that I don't. I love NetHack.
  • My first point is this, did they look into the fact that if a kid has ADHD or whatever that his parents might be sypathetic and let him play more games? IE: Typical Soccer mom: "Jonny was playing games for 2 hours again today, poor little guy he doesn't need me nagging him to do homework on top of it...He will just hate me...better take a prozac". vs and old school mom "Better get Johnny off the games and doing his homework since he has ADHD he will need extra time studying with my help

    Secondly, Why is

The Force is what holds everything together. It has its dark side, and it has its light side. It's sort of like cosmic duct tape.