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Maybe Teenagers Should Put Down The Controller More Often

This is a picture of how it starts.

Now, it could very well be the beginning of a fulfilling life that also happens to include video games simply as a form of satisfying, freeing entertainment, or it could mark the start of a stunted, skewed social development.

After running a piece that contested the idea of gaming directly contributing to the lack of male maturation in our society, we contacted the authors of the book, "The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling And What We Can Do About It," psychologist Nikita Duncan and Dr. Philip Zimbardo. We had soem questions.

As part of the interview that we'll run this week, we wanted to know which aspects of video games could hinder the "growing up" process. After clarifying that they focused on the "excessive use" of video games in the book, Duncan added the following:

"The sheer amount of time spent on gaming - the average teenage guy plays 13 hours a week or 676 hours a year or the entire month of February - takes away from exploring other talents or developing social skills."

Obviously, this begs the question: Is 13 hours considered "excessive?" And furthermore, wouldn't we initially have to define games as something that could feasibly be hurtful? I don't think anyone would say that 13 hours of reading is "excessive" because the implication wouldn't make much sense. I will agree that over-indulging in just about any form of entertainment can have repercussions; considering that admission, though, is 13 hours still too much? Perhaps it is.

The issue here is that if 13 hours is the average, this means quite a few are playing more than 13 hours; perhaps 20, 25 and up. Also, we don't need a doctorate to know that our teenage years are a critical part of our development...you can see where this is going, right? If teenagers these days are spending a fair portion of their days and weeks in fantasy universes, can they really be developing at the same rate as those who are, let's say, living life? Or at least, experimenting with what life has to offer?

Everything in moderation. That's the key. 13 hours breaks down to a little less than two hours a day, which doesn't necessarily sound too "excessive." Anybody with hobbies would likely spend as much time doing what they enjoy doing, yes? So maybe the statement here is that gaming is more dangerous than many other hobbies and activities...otherwise, why even cite 13 hours as a clear negative?

Tags: gaming, gaming culture, video games, gamers, demise of guys

6/3/2012 9:17:59 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (28 posts)

ZettaiSeigi
Sunday, June 03, 2012 @ 9:54:01 PM
Reply

I play way more that 13 hours in a week, but I still get to do other stuff other than video games and work. It definitely varies from person to person. Besides, who are we to dictate what other people should be doing? But there are definitely people who are just so bad with finding balance in their lives. In such cases, they can only blame themselves.

As for teenagers, I could agree about spending a little less time in front of their TVs or computers. They're at the time of their lives when the can enjoy whatever it is they want. Most of them don't have a job yet that will dictate the course of (most of) their daily lives. I'm now 30 and I kind of regret that I find it so hard to do the things I want because work just takes so much of my time.

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Alienange
Sunday, June 03, 2012 @ 10:01:29 PM
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What kind of sissy only plays 13 hours a week? ... A WEEK?!

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Dreno
Sunday, June 03, 2012 @ 10:09:21 PM
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13 hits a week doesn't seem like much to me, but i'm sure everyone has differing opinions about that. I mean in an average week,I play games 5 nights eek for about 3-4 hour periods.that comes out to be 20 hours a week.
I work a bare minimum of 40 hours a week and am subtext to sudden over time that could mean as much as 60+ hours a week for months on end.and when I get home my job as a parent starts.

I guess what i'm getting at is that those roughly 2 hours a night these teens are gaming is in my opinion is harmless. I imagine that most of them go to school, which means homework and studying.at school they socialize with other people both fellow teens and adults alike.

There's definitely enough time for these kids to have other hobbies.
Should they have other hobbies? Of course but to say that 13 hours a week gaming could be detrimental to the development of men specifically, is IMO ridiculous.

Besides, as was the case for me and my buddies, once the whole girls things kick in, games tended to take a back seat. So I say let the kids game, obviously not too much, but don't start Trippin parents

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Dreno
Sunday, June 03, 2012 @ 10:19:39 PM

Random thought, maybe if teens games more than 13 his a week the number of teen pregnancies would drop

Joking

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frylock25
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 1:14:40 AM

dude that may have been a joke but it just may be true

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Ludicrous_Liam
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 3:14:31 AM

*Tommorrow's Fox news broadcast*

GAMING WILL BE THE EXTINCTION OF THE HUMAN RACE!

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kraygen
Sunday, June 03, 2012 @ 10:43:09 PM
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People are quick to jump to the conclusion that kids play too many video games, but how many hours of television do most adults watch in a week.

When I was a teen I didn't own any video games and so guess what, I watched tv with my family.

Most people spend 2-3 hours a night watching tv, which is more than 13 hours a week.

I don't see tv being any better for you than video games, some people just need to find something to blame for problems and apparently video games are an easy target.

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Deathb4Dishonor
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 11:26:56 AM

you kno the world is never satisfied... If the kids ain't playing to much video games their watching to much tv and if they don't do neither then they spend to much time hanging out in the streets... jesus make up your mind world atleast if their playing video games you kno where their at

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Kingnichendrix
Sunday, June 03, 2012 @ 11:54:30 PM
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Ahhh people watch more tv than that so why not play video games which in fact burn more calories than just watching tv

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Jawknee
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 12:52:42 AM
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Everything in moderation, especially moderation. XD

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bigrailer19
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 1:20:31 AM
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I think it goes without saying that it takes time to do anything. And as stated In the article something like moderation may be key. But Imgoing to go back to when I was a teenager for a second. Let's say I'm a good student meaning I actually attend and participate in school. That's roughly 8 hours a day where not only learning takes place but so does interaction with teachers, peers, friends an students. Also during that time I have a PE class so I'm doing some sort of physical activity. Then I go home, do some homework, eat and wind down where I start to play games. This would be a weekly routine, and that excludes maybe playing sports, doing things on the weekend, I mean the week is starting to get pretty full. That doesn't sound to bad to me, even if I was playing games 2 hours a day, look at everything else that was accomplished. Unfortunately not everyone is that way, and spends most their afternoons playing games. But I doubt most parents would let kids skip school to play games, so there's still that.

There was a time when I played a lot of games about four years ago, I was laid off from work and played easily 20 hours a week. Sometimes way more. But let's look at now at 26 years old. Now my weeks are full and I'd say I still get 13 hours a week probably. I work, I go to school, I play sports, I workout, and still have time to play games, at least that much. So 13 hours a week isn't that bad at all I don't think. In fact I was afraid it would be much higher.

Look everything takes time and as long as you get a good balance of things it shouldn't matter if you play 25 hours a week. Really from
A healthy lifestyle standpoint 150 min. A week of physical activity is good, not good enough to look like a linebacker, but... Good. Throw in work or school, even hanging out with friends and you get a good amount of interaction, and learning and opportunities to get the brain working. Point is we have a lot of opportunities as people to do other things, and I kind of feel like those are not taken into account when 13 hours a week of gaming is too high. I mean where's the other 155 hours going? More realistically, minus 8 hours of sleep per night, the other 99 hours of being awake per week?

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 6/4/2012 1:27:05 AM

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frylock25
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 1:30:09 AM
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could you imagine how long a game like skyrim would take if you played 13 hours in a week. i honestly play way more than 13 hours in a week. i really couldnt tell you how much i actually play.

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PharaohJR
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 1:46:53 AM
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when i review my teenage years where i gamed heavy more then now i exceeded 13 hours a week & still had a reality. having girlfriends & friends wasnt a issue im racked up when it comes to those. learned & had other hobbies bmx, aerospace rockets & model cars, track, fight-boxing, dj music....... spent time with elders learning crafts, trades, wisdom..... any obstacles that came in my path i dealt with on my own & structured a backbone.

when i read articles & studies such as these i question what is the perspective of their definition of a man..... cause to me its a male being who is responsible of his action & faces his consequences strives & stands tall for his beliefs & acknowledges substance thats truth/real. if there is another view of what a man is tell me my mind is open.

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Lawless SXE
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 1:49:27 AM
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Saying a month out of a year dedicated to gaming sounds pretty shocking, I'll admit, but when you break that down to a couple of hours a day, it's not really so bad. Still leaves plenty of time for school/homework as well as hanging out with friends and pursuing other things. I really don't believe that it results in a stunting of social growth if the person is actively trying to pursue that goal.

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Rogueagent01
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 3:33:37 AM
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I'll bet they don't take into consideration that gaming also offers up a means of socializing with people, be it co-op on the couch with a friend or family member or even online with friends or family members. 13 hours a week is not even close to being too much in my opinion. When I was a teenager I played 30 to 40 hours a week and still went to school, played the drums, wrestled, hung out with friends and family, and had several other little hobbies as well.

Using numbers like that shows that the study is basically a sham. These kinds of studies lead to bad science as they don't take into consideration the lifes of the people, they just crunch very selective numbers to get the result they are looking for. I just can't take them seriously.

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___________
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 4:46:21 AM
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hows 2 hours a day allot?
i mean seriously 2 hours a day is NOTHING!
hell, most people spend more than 2 hours a day sitting on the john!
there making it sound like theres only 8 hours in a day or something!

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Ludicrous_Liam
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 5:28:20 AM

In between rants you come out with some really funny things:

"hell, most people spend more than 2 hours a day sitting on the john!"

XD

It's true though; on gray, miserable days (which is how it is most of the time in jolly old England), where I have nothing to do, I can spend up to like 8 hours playing games, or just using my PS3 in general.

Last edited by Ludicrous_Liam on 6/4/2012 5:33:59 AM

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PSN French
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 6:08:10 AM
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I wonder how many hours a wee these finger pointers spend watching television and movies. I agree people should get out and explore other possibilities. I now people who spend 40+ hours a week glued to their tv to stay current in sports.

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PSN French
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 6:09:10 AM

sorry... my K button sticks

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Miggy
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 8:35:09 AM

Yeah that's true about the 40+ hours for sports. But there will never be a study about that because sports are considering "manly" and don't have the social stigma that gaming has always had.

If gamers got rid of their favorite hobby and just sat on a couch getting drunk while watching football, basketball, baseball, etc. for around 6-8 hours a day then there probably wouldn't be a problem or "study" at all.

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Ninja_WafflesXD
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 8:42:44 AM
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13 hours??? If we were talking per day, then fair enough...

But a week?!! I'd be the first to admit that I've had some gaming sessions that have lasted that long...(I was playing Skyward Sword 10 hours at a time :/

I really don't understand how 2 hours per day could really disrupt someone's lifestyle. Gaming is my main hobby, but I still find time to go to school, do my homework, household chores AND still have an adequately functioning social life.

I'm pretty sure that there are people who spend more than 13 hours a day on things like watching TV or facebook :/ I shouldn't see why these past-times don't get any flak...

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Oyashiro
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 8:57:08 AM
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13 hours a week? That's not even two hours a day! Are people really calling that excessive?

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Sogi_Otsa
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 9:24:53 AM
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They are at school almost everyday, almost all day. why act like they don't do enough. i was bothered constantly because i wanted to relax and play some games. just leave your kids alone, and monitor WHAT they play, and not how much.

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gumbi
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 9:33:38 AM
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I think this whole 13hrs a week thing is highly subjective.

If my memory serves me correctly, teenagers have a lot of free time, A LOT. I had school, a job, a girlfriend, I exercised and played sports daily and I still managed to sink in a ton of video games. Way more than I do these days that's for sure.

I think rather than focusing on how much time teens spend playing video games (or doing any one thing in particular) we need to focus on what they're doing (or not doing) with all that other free time. Now if those teens are also spending an avg 13 hrs a week watching TV, and 13 hrs a week on the computer facebooking (or whatever). Then we're getting into territory where normal social development is getting hindered.

To single out one hobby, or entertainment medium here is biased and unfair. Television, Movies, Music, Books, it doesn't matter. Any of these things, in excess, will hinder a persons social development.

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Underdog15
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 10:08:20 AM
Reply

13 hours a week doesn't seem so bad to me, either. The only part about all that that concerns me is the "average" part. Remember, a lot of people don't actually play games at all, and others play very little. Even getting over 20 hours once in a while is ok, but I would say, once you hit that entire day barrier (24 hours), and it's consistent, that's probably a little much. Especially for teenagers. I played a lot growing up, but I don't think I was getting anywhere near 20 hours just because of how involved I was with everything else in life.

But yeah, if you consider a 40 hour work week (or school plus homework, which works out to 2 hours of homework per weeknight), and getting at least 8 hours a sleep each night, that already means 96 hours a week most people cannot game even if they want to. That leaves 72 hours in your week for socializing, eating, staying active, etc. You're supposed to be active for at least 3 hours a week, so now we are at 69. People -should- devote time to family, at least an hour a day (if not more) in my opinion, so now we'll say roughly 60 hours in a week left. Time with friends on weekends (most people don't have much time for that on weekdays) but teens could have 20 hours of time to do that, you are now down to 40 hours... participate extracurricularly in 1 time consuming activity, at worst, you are looking at 15 hours, so now 25 hours...

I dunno... 25 hours left after doing the things that are probably important for everyone to do when possible. Based on the time I just mentioned, that's a good bevy of time to really develop a teen well and maintain a healthy adulthood... And I would argue that work, family and social time, and 15 hours of extra-curricular activities develop the mind VERY well...

And boom!!!

Heck, you could spend an ADDITIONAL 12 hours to anything else in the world at all (MORE family time or reading or whatever is good), and you would just then be getting to 13 hours left for gaming. As you can see, once over the 24 hour mark, though, then you aren't leaving much room for extras. But even then, depending on your life circumstance, you could still be getting plenty of life outside of gaming...

Last edited by Underdog15 on 6/4/2012 10:09:37 AM

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Deathb4Dishonor
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 11:41:40 AM
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why does everybody from politics,lawyers, and phsycologist target games for everything they do or say?... It's games fault that murder was caused or games fault that a child is violent... I bet they spend more than 2 hours daily on researching what sh*t to say against video games... Hipocrits

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AcHiLLiA
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 11:50:16 AM

Money.

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AcHiLLiA
Monday, June 04, 2012 @ 11:46:41 AM
Reply

I find myself taking breaks and coming back for more gaming.

Last edited by AcHiLLiA on 6/4/2012 11:49:23 AM

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