New Dangers For Kids Who Overdo Video Gaming

Did Boston Red Sox ace pitcher David Price miss a start against the NY Yankees last year because of a video game? That idea was mentioned by a news station in Boston when it recently reported on the addictive properties of one of the world's most popular video games.

We told you not long ago that too much screen time for children can arrest cognitive and emotional development. Now there's evidence that video gaming presents additional health hazards.

Many children who overdo video gaming start to display addictive behavior. Psychologists point out that for many, gaming stimulates secretion of the neurotransmitter dopamine. For those kids, once gaming stops, the brain craves more dopamine. This can trigger negativity and anger, and send a kid into withdrawal mode.

There are physical repercussions, too. One pediatrician at Tufts Medical Center says children these days are being treated for carpal tunnel syndrome (like David Price) and sedentary obesity. It's estimated that almost 14 percent of 2- to 5-year-olds and 18 percent of 6- to 11-year-olds are obese. One gaming website has a forum that addresses gaming-related anxiety and high blood pressure. That's something children are not immune to.

So, what should parents do? There's nothing inherently wrong with video gaming. The right dose at the right age can be educational and entertaining, and it can build hand-eye coordination. However, it's smart to limit your children's total screen time to two hours or less a day, and no gaming for kids under 12. Make sure your kids (and you) play by your rules.

© 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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