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Children and Video Games Video Games and Children Video games were first introduced in the 1970s By the end of that decade they had become a preferred childhood leisure activity and adults responded with concern about the possible ill effects of the games on children Early research on these effects was inconclusive However resurgence in video game sales that began in the late 1980s after the introduction of the Nintendo system has renewed interest in examining the effects of video games Some research suggests that playing video games may affect some childrens physical functioning Effects range from triggering epileptic seizures to causing heart rate and blood pressure changes Serious adverse physical effects however are transient or limited to a small number of players Research has also identified benefits associated with creative and pro-social uses of video games as in physical rehabilitation and oncology Funk 1993 Proponents of video games suggest that they may be a friendly way of introducing children to computers and may increase childrens hand-eye coordination and attention to detail Video Game Use by Children Recent studies of television watching by children has included measures of the time children spend playing video games In 1967 the average sixth-grader watched 28 hours of television per day Data from 1983 indicated that sixth-graders watched 47 hours of television per day and spent some additional time playing video games A recent study Funk 1993 examined video game playing among 357 seventh and eighth grade students The adolescents were asked to identify their preference among five categories of video games The two most preferred categories were games that involved fantasy violence preferred by almost 32 of subjects and sports games some of which contained violent sub themes which were preferred by more than 29 Nearly 20 of the students expressed a preference for games with a general entertainment theme while another 17 favored games that involved human violence Fewer than 2 of the adolescents preferred games
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