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Can Video Gaming Be Good?

Can Video Gaming Be Good?

Not far from Dr. Mike’s Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Center at the BW3 (Buffalo Wild Wings) in Lyndhurst, OH, insurance salesman Andy Haas can be found playing the golf video game Golden T, usually for four hours at a stretch. In Las Vegas, he recently won $10,000 and the Golden T world championship. And that was after pocketing about $40,000 in regular winnings last year. “I think I cleared $100,000 gross twice, back when it was full time,” said the 34-year-old.

Andy isn’t the only one getting hooked on video games: In 2016 the average American 13 or older spent 6.5 hours a week playing and younger kids are also gaming a lot. However, averaging an hour a day … might not be so bad.

A Spanish study published in the Annals of Neurology reveals that kids who play a limited amount of video games each week–not more than two hours and not less than one–developed better motor skills, improved psychomotor response to visual stimulation, and had higher test scores in school! Looking at 2,442 children ages 7 to 11, the researchers concluded that gaming for more than two hours weekly can be detrimental, nurturing antisocial behavior and generally bad conduct, not to mention inactivity and obesity.

So, don’t ban video games, just regulate time spent. Then offer your kids recreational alternatives that get ‘em playing sports, interacting with their 3-D friends and the real world. Bonus tip: Brain training video games can increase brain-processing speed and decrease dementia in those over age 70.

Medically reviewed in May 2018.

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