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Violent Videogames Might Increase Depression Risk in Children

Aug 19, 2014 04:55 AM EDT
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Children who play violent videogames might be at a greater risk of depression, a new study has found.

According to estimates, children in the U.S., spend about 4.5 hours watching television and more than an hour playing video games. Health experts aren't sure if violent videogames increase aggression in children.  A recent study by researchers at the Oxford University had found that teens who play videogames for less than an hour daily are more likely to be sociable than others.

The latest study by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center states that these games might even be associated with depression symptoms in young players.

The study was based on data from fifth graders from three U.S. cities. The researchers compared depression levels in children who played violent videogames for over two hours a day with those who played less violent videogames for less than two hours per day.

The researchers found that participants who played violent videogames were more likely to be suffering from depression and this association was consistent across all races and ethnic groups.

"One of the strengths of this study is its large and ethnically diverse sample," said Editor-in-Chief Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium.

The study is published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. The researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, GA), and Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School were also involved in the current study.

Related research has shown that violent videogames can be addictive and this addiction increases depression risk in children and teens. This study was based on data from 3,034 children in Singapore.

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