The introduction of the telegraph in the nineteenth century ushered in a new era of communication and social development. Further advances in technology led to the creation of the telephone, radio, and television. Recently, the Internet has become the pinnacle of interchange in the modern world and facilitates many different modes of communication. Each generation has raised concerns regarding the negative impact of media on social skills and personal relationships. The Internet appeals to adolescents for many reasons and has become a social connection for many with uses including messaging, e-mail, gaming, education, and music.
The Internet and other media types are reported to have important social and mental health effects in adolescents. The association between television viewing and obesity, attention disorders, school performance, and violence has been reported [1
]. Likewise, recent studies on obsessive Internet use called "Internet Addiction" have shown negative effects on social health [7
]. A significant relationship between Internet use and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has also been shown in elementary school children [9
]. Other studies have reported the similarities between computer video game addiction and pathological gambling or substance dependence [10
The effect of video games on adolescents is not well characterized despite a growing body of evidence demonstrating their addictive nature and popularity [13
]. Indeed, video game use may exceed that of television use in children [16
]. In pre-adolescent teenagers, obesity has been linked to increasing time spent on video games, but other studies have disputed this finding in different populations [17
]. Most studies of mental health and media use did not specifically examine video games, but included them as a subset of television or Internet use. One extensively studied area is the content of video games and their relationship to subsequent aggressive behavior in children [14
]. Other case reports have documented associations between video games and various conditions such as epilepsy, musculoskeletal disorders, and deep vein thrombosis, although the strength of these associations has not yet been established [23
Despite recent negative attention, some studies have shown possible positive effects of video games on development. One study by Li et al. found a positive association between motor development and cognitive behavior in preschool age children [28
]. Other studies have reported that previous computer game experience enhances laparoscopic simulator performance in physicians [29
]. In addition, video games are more frequently being used as adjuncts to learning and training in various settings, including medical education [30
The term "video games" does not always differentiate between console and Internet/computer video games but instead, suggests a loose clustering. Console video games include Nintendo, Sony Playstation, Microsoft Xbox, and others. Internet video games refer to computer games played online in a community setting with other players. Although similar in nature, several important differences exist. Console games can be played with other people, but most games are "single player" and are meant to be played alone. Internet games however, are designed for "multi-player" use and are played with others online, usually at distant sites. Console games are less expensive than Internet games, and do not require a computer. The genre of video games played on the Internet versus console games also differs in content. Console game themes include sports, action, strategy, family, puzzle, role-playing games, and simulation, while video game themes designed for Internet use are more specific and are mainly action and strategy. The video game market, regardless of type, is a multi-billion dollar industry that generally targets children and adolescents.
The relationship between video games and ADHD is unknown. The incidence of ADHD continues to rise and is a significant challenge on medical, financial, and educational resources [32
]. ADHD is a complex disorder that often requires input from the affected child or adolescent, teachers, parents, and physicians in order to be diagnosed correctly and treated successfully [34
]. The Conners' Parent Rating Scale (CPRS) [35
] is the most widely used instrument to aid in the diagnosis of children with ADHD. The CRS comprises both a parent and teacher questionnaire, and includes a number of components including oppositional behavior, hyperactivity, inattention, and ADHD.
This study examined the relationship between video game use and symptoms of ADHD. Other parameters studied included body mass index (BMI), school grades, work, detentions, and family situation.