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No Video Games on School Nights 337

Donkey Konga writes "In the latest round of the ongoing debate on the effect of video games and TV on academics, a new study in Pediatrics says that any amount of gaming is too much if if happens on a school night. '"On weekdays, the more they watched, the worse they did," said study coauthor Dr. Sharif. Weekends were another matter, with gaming and TV watching habits showing little or no effect on academic performance, as long as the kids spent no more than four hours per day in front of the console or TV." Of course we all know that correlation does not equal causation, but the study is sure to get many parents thinking about how much time in front of the Xbox and idiot box is too much."
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No Video Games on School Nights

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  • oblig (Score:5, Funny)

    by Digitus1337 ( 671442 ) <lk_digitus@ho[ ] ['tma' in gap]> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:32PM (#16315943) Homepage
    I sense a great disturbance in the force, as if millions of students suddenly cried out in terror and then were suddenly silenced...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 05, 2006 @07:29AM (#16318935)
      The problem with moderation is PARENTS don't know how to say stop. As long as their kid is in front of the TV and not bothering them, they just let them play. Out of sight, out of mind.

      I use games as a motivation for my son. The general rule is no games during the weekday, but if he does really well, or I get him to do all his homework plus some extra studying, he gets 30min of play(notice I did not say 1hr). I also use this tactic on weekends. Study 30min = 1hr game play with me.

      He gets excited about doing homework so he can play multi-player games with Dad.

      Problem is, most parents don't know how to handle this, and they don't know what buttons to push to motivate their kids.
      • by Shaper_pmp ( 825142 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @07:49AM (#16319037)
        In addition, has anyone noticed the really, really important part of the article? The bit where it says, right up-front:

        Researchers asked the students to rate their own performance in school on a scale ranging from "below average" to "excellent," instead of looking directly at their grades or other metrics of academic performance. The study also took different parenting styles into account, but did not look at specific household rules covering homework, gaming, and watching TV.

        Study coauthor Dr. Iman Sharif belives that using students' own self-ratings of academic performance provided data accurate enough to draw conclusions from. Although students routinely exaggerate their academic performance when asked, according to other studies, students of all stripes over-report, leading Dr. Sharif to conclude that self-reporting is a viable means of collecting data in this case.

        This doesn't prove jack-shit. The conclusion of this study should have been that kids who routinely play computer games perceive they're doing worse in school than those who don't.

        How many kids did you know in school who didn't play computer games? I haven't been in school for fifteen years, and even then the only people who never played computer games were the handful of nerdy geek kids who didn't own a computer and/or would rather play scrabble with their parents.

        Big surprise if the ultra-nerdy kids who real encyclopedias for fun on average, as a group are more intelligent than those who play computer games (ie, a significant fraction of "everyone").

        It's a bit like comparing people who listen to classical music or join the debate club with "everyone else". Generally it's the really nerdy academic kids that do this, but according to the logic of this article the conclusion should be that not arguing with people makes me thicker. Oh noes!!!!111!11one!

        This smacks of a bullshit agenda-driven experiment. Why get kids to self-report on their progress? Why not use actual grades achieved? It's subjective as all hell. And why merely use "the amount of TV watched", rather than taking into account different parenting styles, whether kids or their parents chose how much TV was watched, etc, etc, etc.
        • by Swanktastic ( 109747 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @08:53AM (#16319689)
          The conclusion of this study should have been that kids who routinely play computer games perceive they're doing worse in school than those who don't.

          The Publication []

          This study is also subject to several limitations. We used a self-report measure of school performance as our main outcome. Use of self-report for school performance is supported by previous studies showing that, whereas students may inflate their grades,14, 38 self-reports generally correlate with teacher reports. Specifically, Anderson et al14 reported that whereas self-reported grades were inflated from 0.26 to 0.37 points on a 4-point scale, they were highly correlated with transcript grades (r = 0.71-0.82). Hence, we believe that despite the probable grade inflation, the substantial and statistically significant correlative associations between the self-reported grades and all of the covariates are internally valid. The study was conducted in a limited geographic area, so it is possible that the findings may not hold true for children in other areas of the country. A national sample would be needed to determine whether the relationships between media use and school performance apply across populations, especially among minority populations. In addition, it is always possible that there are other unmeasured confounders that would explain the association between television exposure and school performance. Notably, our study did not include any measure of child intelligence quotient. It is possible that children with low intelligence quotient perform more poorly in school and, as a result, have less interest in school and greater interest in television, movie, and video game use. Finally, whereas we have established a relationship between exposure to adult content in television and movies and poorer school performance, because of our cross-sectional design, we cannot infer a before-and-after relationship between content exposure and school performance. Additional work is needed to clarify directionality, along with the intervening processes between adult content exposure and school performance. A longitudinal study, with data on potential mediators, as well as school performance, could be helpful in studying this relationship.

          The authors themselves do a better job of critiquing their work than you do. With a correlation coefficient on self-reporting of grades this high, I am confident in kids' abilities to assess their own performance. Of course, I'm happy to be impartial. I'm not sure any piece of information would be sufficient to reverse your clearly strong beliefs (based on anecdotal evidence).

          The conclusion they draw is correct, which is that more research should be done which controls for other factors. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if the results were even more conclusive if they did this.
          • (r = 0.71-0.82)

            And what is the probability of achieving those r-values by chance? If you do not know that, you have no basis other than faith for any belief about its significance.

            The state of statisitical practice in the social sciences is shameful. To simply say that an r-value of "0.71-0.82" is "high" is completely and utterly meaningless. I have seen experiments where an r-value of 0.98 is "low" and 0.998 is "high". The meaning of "low" and "high" for r is entirely dependent on the distributions of
            • by redelm ( 54142 )
              Have you seen what these "correlations" actually look like? r=0.71-0.81 looks like a shotgun blast, with some slight clustering.

              As Mark Twain said "Figures don't lie, but liars figure." Statistics are easily pressganged. The real question here is causation: Why believe that vidgames cause low marks when low marks might just as easily cause [frustration] Most likely, a third cause [independance] affects both to a very limited extent.

  • Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DurendalMac ( 736637 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:33PM (#16315949)
    MODERATION is the key here. When I was a kid, my parents limited everyone to 1 hour on the computer per day once all the chores and homework was done. My family did just fine academically, thankyouverymuch. Remove the kids who spend an average of 2 hours or more after school in front of the TV or computer and see how the statistic looks.
    • by Bob54321 ( 911744 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:36PM (#16315991)
      MODERATION is the key here

      Now thats just karma whoring!
    • by Lanoitarus ( 732808 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:40PM (#16316037)
      I spent insane amounts of hours EVERY weekday playing starcraft/red alert/whatever else was out at the time, and my grades were-- Ok, i see your point.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Vexorian ( 959249 )
        I am a counter-example myself, also my math grades were the best among my class, seriously.
        • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @11:07PM (#16316291)
          Are you a counter-example or were you simply unchallenged by the school curriculum?

          Being the top of your class because the course is not intended for exceptional students does not mean that games helped or hindered you. It simply means that you were too advanced for the class you took. If this allowed you additional free time to play video games, that is a failing of the school system.
    • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Informative)

      by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@AAAtpno ... inus threevowels> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:44PM (#16316079) Homepage
      I don't buy it; Non-interactive entertainment is bad, I've always believed that. But time on the computer? I've spent a significant portion of my life on the computer, and aside from a burning hatred of humanity, I'm just fine and very successful ( primarly because I spend so much time learning about thigns on the computer, frankly ).

      • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mikesd81 ( 518581 ) <> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @11:45PM (#16316603) Homepage
        You have a point here. You were in front of the computer learning. Most kids I knew growing up were on the computer just to play games and other less educational reasons.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by modecx ( 130548 )
          You have a point here. You were in front of the computer learning. Most kids I knew growing up were on the computer just to play games and other less educational reasons.

          Yeah... Well, I have it on good authority that the bulk of grashoppa's adolescent computer time was in fact spent learning about anatomy.

          What could possibly be useful about so much learning on the anatomy of homosexual dwarves, I've no idea. However, if it turns out that such knowledge is somehow important--perhaps vital to the continuanc
        • Re:Oh please (Score:4, Insightful)

          by krotkruton ( 967718 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:46AM (#16317649)
          You have a point here. You were in front of the computer learning. Most kids I knew growing up were on the computer just to play games and other less educational reasons.

          Then we get into the argument of what constitutes learning... I learned a lot (about computers) by installing new games, getting device drivers to work, tweaking the graphics cards etc. Kids who play computer games are generally more adept when it comes to using a computer.

          Also, many types of games a great vocabulary builders. I learned a lot about mythology, both western and eastern, from MMORPGs. WW2 stategy games gave insight into war. Even Need For Speed taught me a little about cars. I should clarify that I don't think thatgames are the best way to learn about these things; I'm just saying that it is possible to learn a lot from them.

          Not to mention, my typing ability went through the roof when I started playing Ultima Online. You can't look at the keys to type "Help" while running from a monster, much less "Haha, I stole all ShortSpear of Vanquishing" with a group of players chasing you.

          Grades in school may suffer because kids are playing video games, but this is probably because they are learning other things than what is required by the shool, not because they aren't learning anything.
        • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @03:39AM (#16317853)
          Even ones not designed to be. Ok shooters not so much, they train reflexes and such but that's about it. However strategy games ARE educational. They teach a skill that I think is useful:

          Analyzing a system. If you want to get good at a strategy game vs a computer, you do so by really understanding the system. You learn the rules, you figure out ways the can be manipulated to your favour, you figure out how to win by being superior at the system. It's something that I'm fairly good at and serves me well on tests. They too are a game with rules and if you can figure them out, you can do much better. I am (or perhaps I should say was since I'm not in school any more) rather good at that. I take a test and figure out plenty about it, I do better on that one, and much better on subsequent ones. I'm not just taking it, I'm analyzing the system. I figure out what kinds of questions are likely to be asked, if there are any tells in the answers (in the case of multiple choice tests), if questions interrelate and information from one can give you the answer to another.

          Now, while I can't present any evidence of how I gained this skill, I can say that the same methods I apply to tests I apply to games like Civ 4. It's the same deal, I am analyzing the game mechanics, and how the computers react to what I do. I am not trying to come up with a list of "they do this so I do that" limited strategies, I am trying to gain a good understanding of the whole system so I can deal with anything. Maybe video games didn't give me that skill, but they probably helped hone it.

          What you have to accept is that not everything in a child's life can or should be education focused. Especially since another valuable skill is learning how to learn from life. Everything in life can be a learning experience and it's valuable to take something you learned for no reason at all, and find an application to another part of life. Learning could and should be fun and a continuous experience, not something you have to go and so something special for.

          Also kids need time to be kids. There's plenty of time to be grown up and responsible later and part of becoming a happy functioning human being is learning how to have fun, and to do so in moderation with work. I know far too many people who live for nothing but their jobs and it leads to things like depression, excessive drinking, and so on because they never learned how to fill the hours when they aren't being forced to do something. Really, it's ok for kids to just plain goof off at times, it will not cripple them for life.

          Finally I think there's waaaay too much focus on grades. While it's important for a kid to do well in school, there seems to be too many parents worried that they need to get A's in all their classes. Fuck that, often grades and learning do not go hand in hand. Filling your head full of facts so you can get 100% on a test, only to then forget them is useless. However actually learning and understanding as many of the concepts and applications as you can, even if that only translates to an 85% on the test, is much better. That's something you might use in life.

          You should be active in your kid's education and help them to learn things that will last a lifetime. So long as they are learning, trying, and are getting grades good enough to succeed don't sweat it. If they wind up with a B, or even C instead of an A, oh well. The important thing is they learned what they could that will last. Those are the kind of people I hire. I'm not interested in someone with a 4.0 that only knows how to cram themselves full of facts and formulas to pass a test. Ok, you are full of facts. Wonderful, so is my computer and it's much better at it. What I need is someone who can learn concepts and apply them to real problems.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by phageman ( 627693 )
        Let me preface by saying that I am a high school teacher, and I spend my entire day talking to kids. There are probably only one or two of those kids who spend their time on the computer learning anything constructive. Several of them are, however, masters at WoW and Oblivion. Unfortunately, those skills are not what are being tested by NCLB, nor are they likely to improve their employment opportunities. I agree that interactive entertainment is superb at teaching children, but teaching them what?
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by f_raze13 ( 982309 )
          I will preface this by saying that I am your antithesis, a high school student. I find that gaming (in moderation) helps relieve the stress of school, and also to clear the mind of what may have happened at school. This allows for better concentration and completion of homework, which can lead to better grades. The key to that is, of course, moderation. Obviously, someone who spends 40+ hours a week playing Oblivion isn't going to be doing much homework (or focusing that much on schoolwork, for that mat
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Swordsmanus ( 921213 )

          I agree that interactive entertainment is superb at teaching children, but teaching them what?

          Vocabulary? Speed reading? Critical thinking skills? Analytical skills? Concentration? Planning? Perseverance? Matching thought with precise input? Thinking from the perspective of the designer (be it a test or game)?

          That's what I learned through my adolescence from videogames, anyway. I placed in the top 3% of my class in highschool, and except for the 3 people tied for valedictorian, all those with GPAs above

          • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @06:43AM (#16318657)
            I think the answer is that if you are the type to learn, you will learn at whatever you are doing. If you are the type to do only the minimum and resist learning as much as possible, you won't learn.

            It won't matter whether you're playing video games or mowing the lawn, the results are the same.

            There's something this study does -not- say. What should those kids be doing instead of gaming? Sitting and staring at the ceiling? Out at the club partying? Extra-curricular activities at school? If the answer is 'studying' I have news for them... You can forget that. Even if they stare at the book for hours, they aren't actually -learning- anything extra from it, and they'll hate you for it.

            Previous posters have mentioned the relaxing effect of video games. I don't wholly agree, but I do agree they relieve stress. Just because it's not as stressful as being behind on your rent and work 3 jobs just to stay even, that doesn't mean school isn't the most stressful thing they've ever done. They need to learn to handle that stress, instead of having it eat them alive for the rest of their lives.

            Now, I know some people jumped at the 'extra-curricular' activities option... And that's great for exercise, social networking, and learning to work as a team... But it doesn't really teach anything else. And apart from the exercise, games do all of that already. (Well, some... But then, some EC activities don't, either.)

            No, the answer is to make the kids do their studying -before- they game (or watch tv, or whatever), and then let them at it.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
          I don't think it's playing by itself as much as the time listed there. Four hours per day was where they started measuring some impact. I don't know about others but I usually got home from school at 16:00 or 17:00, playing for four hours would keep me busy till 20 or 21 o'clock, if we add dinner, homework and whatever chores you do at your house to that you'd easily end up going to bed at 23 o'clock or later. Assuming you have to get out of bed at 6-7 you're not getting a lot of sleep. No wonder the grades
    • by Firehed ( 942385 )
      I regularly spent 6+ hours a day in front of the computer throughout high school, and I was a straight A student. Of course, this wasn't six hours of continual Counter-Strike, which would have totally shot my nerves (pun very much intended), but it sure wasn't six hours of schoolwork either. Of course, comparing slashdotters and geeks with 10k+ forum posts to the average teenager isn't quite fair, since I wasn't really subject to the normal brain-drain of AIM marathons.
    • Re:Oh please (Score:5, Interesting)

      by scourfish ( 573542 ) <scourfish&yahoo,com> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:52PM (#16316163)
      When I was a kid, I was pretty into video games; but if grades slipped for anybody in the house, then my old man came in with a box and unhooked everything.

      I wouldn't say the worry with many people is about video games as much as the fact that the way kids physically interact with their toys has changed. Even in the early 90's, when we were beginning to see the adolescense of the video game industry explode, many of my toys did not have transistors. Granted the gameboy I got for christmas was snuck onto the school playground even after the teachers banned such things to avoid theft and fights, that was about it... well, that and a decaying teddy ruxpin doll from the mid 80's.

      Time studying or doing homework isn't that much of an issue, given kids who don't want to do homework have historically found ways and excuses to get around it. The worry lies in "the good old days of running or bicycle riding" or something equally nostalgic for old people, however video games are also moving to deeper levels of physical interaction, take a look at the necessity to pantomime gestures with the Wii or exert high impact aerobic routines with dance dance revolution.

      The same study has probably been performed in the past about kids who watch too much TV and probably wielded similar results. This is nothing new, and as the OP stated, moderation and parental ivolvement are the key to raising a child who one day takes over the world and gives mommy and daddy control of some country in europe as a way of saying thanks.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ampmouse ( 761827 )
      Yep, your absolutely right, Moderation is the key!
      I spend all my "homework time" moderating on Slashdot and still get passing grades!
    • by or_smth ( 473159 )
      I do not think there is a recipe for the 'proper' child.

      A lot of the best times of my childhood was spent speaking to older folks on IRC and Meridian 59. It seemed like wasted times to my parents, but it was essentially another social life that was equally as valid as any other. I would have been quite angry if I was limited to an hour a day.

      A lot of my early vocabulary came from the school nights I spent playing Final Fantasy II. By most logic, my parents should have placed rigid rules on me to prevent the
    • Personally, I wonder what the author's excuse is for those kids who do their homework as soon as they get home from school. Let's say that their bedtime is at 9 PM but their homework is done by 6 PM every night, and they always stuy until 8 PM if there is an upcoming test. Exactly how are those remaining hours of gaming going to be so devastating to their educational endeavors? I'm sorry but I have to call at least partial shenanigans here.

      Was this study sanctioned by Jack Thompson by some chance?
      • I don't think this study was a pinnacle of scientific excellence in research by any means, but all they're reporting is a correlation that suggests a possible causative effect. They aren't trying to explain why at this point, merely point out that they've found a correlation. While it's perfectly sensible to ask why to believe there is a causative relation, it's not a proper critique of this study.

        Plus, I think there's a perfectly clear "excuse," even if the correlation really does indicate causation. Th
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CptPicard ( 680154 )
      If I had been limited like that when I was a kid, I wouldn't have a degree in CS now. What if the kid is genuinely interested in computers and LIKES to hack, which neccessarily means coding marathons?
    • If your snotty brats won't behave and do their homework, just rig their console so all it'll play is superman 64. Of course, then you may find a genuine correlation between video games and violence.
      • Why not E.T. for the Atari 2600 running on a console emulator? After falling in a pit for the 1000th time, they'll swear they thought video games were a lot cooler and give them up for good ;)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I was homeschooled until second grade. I then went to private schools from second to fourth grade and after that I went to public schools from fourth to seventh grade. After seventh grade, I had had enough of schools and asked to be homeschooled again.

      Throughout my life, my computer, TV, and video game time have never been limited. I've been a straight 'A' student my entire life (college is another matter, of course. ^_^) and video games have never brought me down. Through my experiences, I can confidently
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kamots ( 321174 )
      And... you missed out on all the things that you can *gasp* LEARN from playing games!

      Over the past few years I've had some interesting chats with my parents about it. (I'm 27 in case that matters to you)

      Their take on my gaming was that when I first got into it they were really worried about how much time I was wasting on worthless pursuits. However, they let me do as I wished as long as I wasn't screwing up school too badly. I did have grades bomb some due to not doing homework... but then... I wouldn't h
  • Screw that. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Headcase88 ( 828620 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:34PM (#16315969) Journal
    Fair enough, but it's equal time for equap pay. You know what that means, parents. No TV for you on work nights.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pookemon ( 909195 )
      That's one of the benefits of being a parent/adult who has finished their schooling and is working to feed/educate/entertain their children. When the kids grow up, get their own job and start paying their own way, THEN they can watch as much TV as they want on a school/work night.
  • Depends upon the kid (Score:4, Interesting)

    by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:35PM (#16315973) Journal
    You really can't make generalizations about children when it comes to things like this. Different children develop differently, and generalizations become too broad to be useful applications. But here are the rules for my kids. The homework is done first. After that they get a modest amount of playtime. We check the homework, if the homework is done well then the kids deserve a little playtime.
    • by bcat24 ( 914105 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @11:30PM (#16316473) Homepage Journal
      I couldn't agree more. All generalizations are wrong.
    • Different children develop differently, and generalizations become too broad to be useful applications.

      Generalizations can accurately predict outcomes, despite exceptions to the contrary. You don't lose every bet in Vegas, but the shiny buildings indicate which way the money is flowing. Even if a single kid, or a large number of them, do well despite long gameplay and TV viewing, increased hours of exposure correlating well with lower academic scores does mean something. People who read more generall

  • No banana for you. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gold23 ( 44621 ) <<org.slashdot.2> <at> <>> on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:37PM (#16316007) Homepage
    While the study may be correct in its findings, I must take issue with your conclusion, "[T]he study is sure to get many parents thinking about how much time in front of the Xbox and idiot box is too much."

    If history is any guide, the parents who have failed to monitor their childrens' study habits and recreational activities in the past will continue to do so. And those parents who have been responsible in their child-raising duties will also continue to do so.

    The study will have no effect whatsoever.

    Yes, IAAP. (I am a parent.)
  • My parents limited me to _only_ holidays and vacations. I'm still in school, and not on the street. So I guess I did not turn out bad.
    • I fail to see how still being in school is supposed to be some magic proof that only playing videogames on vacation time made you a better student.
      • by pembo13 ( 770295 )
        It wasn't supposed to me. I just failed to see what good me boasting about myself in public would do.
  • Reading... (Score:5, Informative)

    by MMaestro ( 585010 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:48PM (#16316119)
    Researchers asked the students to rate their own performance in school on a scale ranging from "below average" to "excellent," instead of looking directly at their grades or other metrics of academic performance.

    Stop! Enough said.

    • Re:Reading... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @11:16PM (#16316351)
      Yeah... the thing is, students who do the best in high school are generally either one of two types. Naturally gifted and don't have to work, or hard workers. Hard workers would also tend to say they did well, considering they put in their best effort. They would play less video games and watch less tv because they have less time to do so because they're busy doing homework. For those who are naturally gifted, many figure, why bother, I could get a 97 if I tried, but a 92 still gets me a 4.0. So instead, they watch tons of tv or play video games to fill spare time, and then say they could do better, despite being top of the class.

      Personally, I averaged a 94 in all honors classes while watching 8+ hours of TV a day and yet would have said that I could do better because i never tried hard. That's partially why they got the results they did, because they didn't look at academic performance, just feelings about performance. For a valid study, they need to sample a few random high schools, but take like ~100 students from each, then compare class rank to TV watching/video game playing.
  • I am in grade 10. I use my computer all night, and will sometimes play games (or read wikipedia! Great passtime.). Every day of the week. My average last year sat at around 87%. I cannot stress enough that the same thing is not always true for everyone. Some people would never do a good job on their homework if they sat around watching TV or playing games all the time, for others it works fine. Also, moderation is key. You need to know when to say "enough playing games, time to get homework done". Of course
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nebrfan ( 1009459 )
      87%? So you're pulling a B-B+ average in high school...that's not that great. Maybe if you didn't dick around on the computer/net you could be an A student looking to go to a private school w/ scholie instead of the BS State.
  • by RyatNrrd ( 662756 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:52PM (#16316155) Homepage Journal
    The conclusion may be true, but parents need to be careful how they define "playing video games". Much of my childhoot computer recreation time was spent programming for fun. Often testing games that I had programmed. That would certainly have IMPROVED my grades.
    • I don't know about you, but I did the same thing and almost failed out of many of my classes. Sure, I learned a lot from hacking, tinkering, and reading my way through High School and Middle School; but curiously enough, none of it counted as completed homework assignments. It certainly didn't earn me any sympathy from the teachers who's classes I was falling asleep in during the day. Pre-college education is about conformity more than about learning. (Take the top 10 graduates from any high-school class, a
  • How about having your children do their homework before such actvities are allowed? That's how it was with me, and I certainly spent more than my fair share of time gaming and watching TV.
  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by valkabo ( 840034 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @10:53PM (#16316171)
    Well I guess when space invaders attack earth I won't be able to help..

    Too bad.. I had my shasta and all rush mix tape ready to go :(
    • Willy: It's impossible for me to fire a pistol. If you'll check me medical records, you'll see I have a cripplin' arthritis in me index fingerrrs. Look at 'em! (holds fingers up) I got it from "Space Invaders" in 1977.

      Wiggum: Aw, yeah. That was a pretty addictive video game.

      Willy: (surprised) Video game?
  • I take issue with this study, as it appears to be claiming that playing video games and watching television are equal. Surely there are more portions of the brain being stimulated when playing video games than when staring at the TV?
    • Yes, various things are probably not all equally bad. For that matter, some TV shows are probably less stimulating than others, some games require more use of one particular brain area than other games, and so on. Studies such as this one have to chunk some results together, and so any differences between playing Civilizaton and GTA aren't shown in the final report. If watching CSI - Bugtussle is worse than watching the McNieeble-Flenor Hour, a study such as this can't particularly prove it.
      So the question
  • TV or Games? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eideewt ( 603267 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @11:06PM (#16316289)
    Judging by the Ars article, the survey considered TV and gaming to be the same activity. This somehow strikes me as completely wrong. Certainly it's no basis to be drawing conclusions about gaming. All it says is that TV and gaming, in some combination, can harm performance. Cigarettes and sitting on wooden stools, in some combination, can give you lung cancer, but you won't see me selling the stool.
  • This is strange. I played Nethack for a good hour today, yet I'm doing just fine with my homework.

    In fact, I would go as far as to say that that hour helped me. It was a great way to clear my head of discrete mathematics to make way for Shakespearian analysis.
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      This is strange. I played Nethack for a good hour today, yet I'm doing just fine with my homework.


      a. A scroll of thesis

      #read a

      Your scroll of thesis is blank!

  • by A Brand of Fire ( 640320 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @11:09PM (#16316313) Homepage

    It seems to me that moderate use of video games is only part of the solution. Ultimately, it comes down to parental involvement and interaction. When I was growing up, my mom and I often played the Atari 2600, NES and SNES together. She made it a point to just sit back and watch sometimes, too. This actually served two purposes:

    • She had supervision over the game console use and game content. She knew what kinds of games I played, how long I played them for, etc. This made it remarkably easy for her to anticipate which games to buy for me as gifts or rewards... Not to mention the fact that she played the hell out of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., Metroid and Tetris whenever I wasn't playing.

    • She also gave me encouragement as I played — sometimes offering other possible avenues of action when I was stumped, soothing words when I was frustrated, or positive reinforcement upon completing a major game objective. If I was acting too rashly in response to a game's difficulty, she would make me quit until I calmed down and approached it again with a fresh perspective and a cooler head.

    Ironically, her method of coaching helped to sharpen my natural tendency for analytical thinking, further reinforcing it with the (sometimes negative) quality of persistence (some would also say stubbornness) in coming to an understanding with a thing or concept, or completing a goal. Parental involvement is A Good Thing(tm) for all involved, and a lot of parents nowadays have become disappointingly lax in that department.

    One of the best things to do to encourage that such involvement or observation actually takes place? Put the console in the living room. If a kid is going to have his or her game machine and/or computer in their room, that's likely where they'll spend most of their time, thusly putting them outside the sphere of parental influence. Putting the console in a common, non-private area will give the parent(s) the opportunity to regulate usage and observe their child in action; it also affords the parent(s) an opportunity to see how their child reacts to and interacts with the game.

    And believe me, if the infamous Chocolate Milk [] video is any indication, a lot of these kids seriously need parental intervention. I can say, thankfully, that I've never acted like such an out-of-control heathen — I knew the fear of MOM, not God.

    Some of the younger generation may look at such a suggestion with great disdain, but take it from someone who actually had a parent take the time to get involved — it may seem lame or embarassing, but is A Good Thing(tm). It's also a necessary thing. Take the time, parents; it does make a difference.

    • Similar experience for me. Our first cosole was a Colecovision, which we got when I was five. Nominally, it was a present for me, but it was used by the whole family: my parents and my little sister, as well as me. To get a NES all four of us went in for $25 each (five whole weeks of allowances), making it belong to all of us (that was our parents stipulation - they wouldn't buy it for us), ensuring sharing of the machine. Even when they did buy me a SNES, they stipulated that I had to share it with my

  • If this is the same Dr. Sharif who is responsible for, among other things, the "Robber's Cave" experiment with sweeping ramifications for social psychology, he's about as far from a crackpot trying to jump on the bandwagon as one can get.

    I tend to dismiss these sorts of studies as fearmongering and ignorant grandstanding, but I'll have to look up the full text of the study and do a bit more reading coming from someone who I know to be well respected in his field, and my field of study.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by nevergleam ( 900375 )
      The Robber's Cave Study was performed by Muzafer and Carolyn Sharif, not the Iman Sharif who did this study.
  • The kids who were playing videogames or watching TV on school nights were kids who would have done poorly in school anyway, and if they were not playing videogames or watching TV they would have filled that time with some other non-learning activity.

    This study is such horse shit, according to TFA "Researchers asked the students to rate their own performance in school on a scale ranging from "below average" to "excellent," instead of looking directly at their grades or other metrics of academic performance"

  • Sharif don't like it? I guess we better rock the casbah then.
  • 118/4/e1061 []

    Read the thing before you dismiss it, the authors are very well known and respected researchers.
  • by zymurgy_cat ( 627260 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2006 @11:40PM (#16316555) Homepage
    ...such as soccer practice, playing in the front yard, or reading comic books.

    Face it, we all have limited time, particularly on weekdays. After dinner, getting ready for bed, baths, etc., there's limited time for homework or study. If you waste it, children will do worse, no matter how you waste it.

    My wife and I limit our first grader to 30 minutes on the PS2, assuming that there's time, he'e been good at school, and that he'll complete his homework (which isn't that much) before snack time before bed. Anybody with an ounce of common sense could tell you that his academic work would suffer if we reduced study time to allow more play time, regardless of whether or not it was on the PS2 or playing Mille Borne or Sorry! or any other game...or even just playing with Legos.

    This is a time management issue, not a video game issue.
  • I have my kids playing the School House Rock and Jumpstart games, it combines the "academics" with the fun of video games. When they get home they have 1 hour where they are to either do homework or if they have none (and we check with teachers so they know not to lie about it) then after that they each get an hour of computer time redeemable before bed. Most of the time they are either playing an educational game or surfing their rather limited access of websites. They also rotate computer usage and con
  • I'm a hardcore gamer. I'm also a game programmer. I've been a hardcore gamer since about age 12, playing around 15-25 hours of games a week. My GPA in high school was a 2.2. My GPA in college is a 3.4ish. Why the difference? Because I didn't care about high school, as it was boring, slow-paced, and had no interesting material with lots of rules in place for the sake of saying "we have rules." My college is much different, as I'm actually developing games. So, my question is, why care about grades? Is the ch
  • When I was a kid I played video games at least .. Oh wait, there were no video games when I was a kid.
  • My son only plays in the morning, be it weekday or weekend. Evenings are for serious stuff only. I am not seeing any negative effect on studies.

    If he plays 4h on a weekend morning, he's a little too grumpy during the afternoon. But other than that, I see no reason to limit him more.
  • None at all? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nulagrithom ( 998099 )
    These kind of philosophies bother me. Why don't we just lock kids in cells on school nights? They'd preform great academically! I for one was not allowed to own video games for many years. When I got my first N64 (which was an out of date system by then) I played it non-stop. Granted I was homeschooled, so I don't know how it would've affected my grades, but I certainly would argue that abstinence is not the answer. This is one of many parenting ideas which creates mindless zombies out of kids who can't mak
  • When I was at school, I spent a ton of time on the computer. I wasn't just gaming, I was programming too, but I still spent an awful lot of time playing games. But I'm fairly sure that my constant use of a computer is what got me interested in programming, and ultimately determined my career. My grades were good enough to get me in to do what I wanted to do (which is the only point of grades anyway). If my parents had forbidden me from using the computer 5 days a week, I doubt I would be as competant in my
  • The last report like this was the AMA's 1990s report that no TV under 2 years old, and then a lean formula for hours watched always with parents, in a fairly-parity ration to hours with the TV off discussing with parents, gradually weaning kids from direct parental supervision/intervention to independent watching. Somewhere around their 44th birthday.

    I joke, but the AMA's longterm longitudinal (comprehensive across demographics) study determined that more TV than that (above Amish levels) contributed direct
  • eh.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by skeldoy ( 831110 )
    Did this study operationalize "students with controlling parents" vs. "students without controlling parents", or what this a study of "controlling parents deny gaming on weekdays" vs. "controlling parents who do not deny gaming on weekdays"? This is the question here. GIVE KIDS LIBERTY AND THEY WILL MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE!
  • To start:
    " Researchers asked the students to rate their own performance in school on a scale ranging from "below average" to "excellent," instead of looking directly at their grades or other metrics of academic performance"

    It has nothing to do with grades as everyone keeps bringing up, it was how kids thought they did in schools. Kind of rating them selves. This might not even include grades at all.

    Also they are not saying NO TV or games, but limited to 2 HOURS of quality broadcasting per day.

    And what
  • In my house, do you know what works great as a reward for finishing your homework? 1-2 hours of television or computer time, their choice. In an ideal world, the kids would do their homework with or without coercion, love learning, etc. But a little extra incentive doesn't hurt ;) I don't want to be presumptuous or tell anybody how to raise their own kids, I'm just saying that seems to work fine in this house.

    As far as the contention that any television/computer time on school nights, I'm a little skepti
  • I don't know. I played video games, computer games, and AD&D almost every free minute I had, weekdays and weekends. We averaged at least one new game each month, since we got a new Nintendo game each month and we were also playing computer games and Nintendo games at friends houses at the same time. I was a top student throughout.

    Of course, I also finished all my homework (doing it during school left more time after school for games) and didn't try to do a sloppy job. I also played a wide variety of gam
  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @02:13AM (#16317483) Journal
    What do you think adults are going to just suddenly wake up, have self control, and make good decisions. What an excellent opportunity to teach kids the consequences of their actions. By all means don't let them run wild, but silly rules like this make for one hell of a rebellious teenager when they realise the rules you've made up are arbitrary and pointless. Try getting them interested in other things instead of just the computer game so that even if they do have a bit of a run with a game, they are aware there's other fun things to do with your spare time that also happen to be excellent learning experiences. Spend some time with the kid too if you want to be able to shape anything they do.
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Thursday October 05, 2006 @05:31AM (#16318299) Journal
    Is it really the video games that's the problem, or just the lack of studies?

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.