Here’s what researchers found about video game addiction

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The debate on how much video games children should be playing has been going on for ages. Mental health professionals have suggested for years that video game addiction could lead to social isolation, in addition to depression and anxiety.

In a new study published in the Annals of Neurology, researchers found that children who play fewer video games each week see more health benefits. Jesus Pujol, MD, of the Hospital del Mar in Spain, initiated the study which examined 2442 children aged 7 to 11.

What researchers found was that the children who played fewer video games had better motor skills and academic achievements. On the other hand, children who played more video games per week was correlated with conduct problems, poor social abilities, and isolation, according to PsyPost.

The poor conduct and social abilities were observed in children who played nine or more hours a week, no matter the genre of video games. Additionally, scans taken from MRI machines concluded that gaming was associated with changes in some parts of the brain including the basal ganglia white matter and functional connectivity.

“Children traditionally acquire motor skills through action, for instance in relation to sports and outdoor games. Neuroimaging research now suggests that training with desktop virtual environments is also capable of modulating brain systems that support motor skill learning,” Pujol concluded.

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