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What’s the social effect of videogames?

About 66% of kids ages 8 to 12 play videogames for an average of two hours a day.

But does spending too much time in front of a console affect the way kids socialize?

Researchers in Norway studied the social effects of videogames by following 873 children at ages 6, 8, 10 and 12.

Results showed boys in the study played videogames much more often than girls. But more electronic gaming at 10 years old was linked to less social competence two years later for girls only.

Researchers also found better social competence at ages 8 and 10 was associated with less gaming two years later for both boys and girls.

Scientists say videogames may influence girls more negatively because gaming isn’t typically a big part of socialization for them. On the other hand, boys often play in the company of their friends.

Social scientists also say because girls’ gaming is less a part of the social norm, other girls may be less accepting of girls who game a lot.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says you should set reasonable limits when it comes to screen time for kids. You might want to help your child cut back if their gaming is interfering with other activities or causing them to avoid socializing with friends.