Skip to content

    Health & Parenting

    Font Size

    Playing Video Games May Zap Homework

    Gamers May Spend Less Time Reading and Doing Homework Than Kids Who Don't Play Video Games
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    July 2, 2007 -- Playing video games may mean spending less time reading or doing homework, according to new research on video games and children.

    That news appears in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

    Data came from diaries completed by nearly 1,500 U.S. kids and teens aged 10-19 during the 2002-2003 school year.

    In the diaries, participants accounted for how they spent their time. They kept the diaries twice -- once on a randomly chosen weekday and once on a randomly chosen Saturday or Sunday.

    More than a third of the group -- 36% -- reported playing video games. Most of the video game players -- 80% -- were boys.

    "Compared with nongamers, adolescent gamers spent 30% less time reading and 34% less time doing homework," write researchers Hope Cummings, MA, and Elizabeth Vandewater, PhD.

    Cummings works in the University of Michigan's department of communications studies. Vandewater works for the University of Texas at Austin's Center for Research on Interactive Technology, Television, and Children.

    Time Playing Video Games

    Gamers played video games for an hour on the weekdays and 1.5 hours on weekend days on average.

    Boys tended to spend more time than girls playing video games.

    "Female gamers spent an average of 44 minutes playing on the weekdays and one hour and four minutes playing on the weekends," write the researchers. "Male gamers spent an average of 58 minutes playing on the weekdays and one hour and 37 minutes playing on the weekends."

    Effect of Video Games on Kids' Time

    The study shows that gamers and nongamers spend a similar amount of time with their parents and friends. But schoolwork was another story.

    "Although gamers and nongamers did not differ in the amount of time they spent interacting with family and friends, concerns regarding gamers' neglect of school responsibilities (reading and homework) are warranted," write Cummings and Vandewater.

    The study appears in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

    Today on WebMD

    Girl holding up card with BMI written
    Is your child at a healthy weight?
    toddler climbing
    What happens in your child’s second year.
    father and son with laundry basket
    Get your kids to help around the house.
    boy frowning at brocolli
    Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
    mother and daughter talking
    child brushing his teeth
    Sipping hot tea
    boy drinking from cereal bowl
    hand holding a cell phone
    rl with friends
    girl being bullied
    Child with adhd