By Peggy Parks
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Bill Vogler, executive director of the counseling organization Family Answers, shares his views: “Video games often get a bad rap. 51 Video Games I honestly do not think they are inherently bad, nor do they harm [kids] right out of the box. ”37 Video Games and Physical Ailments “ People who spend excessive amounts of time playing video games can suffer from a number of physical problems, including muscle cramps, back pain, bad posture, eye strain, and headaches. Another problem that is sometimes linked to video games is tendonitis, which is often called Nintendo thumb, joystick thumb, or Nintenditis.
Ben Sawyer, quoted in “Dr. Pac-Man? Smart and Healthy Video Games,” Connect for Kids, July 13, 2005. Sawyer is president of the consulting firm Digitalmill and is the author of several books on video games and game development. 63 Facts and Illustrations Facts and Illustrations How Do Video Games Affect Mental and Physical Health? 64 • According to research by the National Institute on Media and the Family, children who spend more time playing video games are heavier and are more likely to be classified as overweight or obese.
Immediately after the video game sessions, the participants’ brains were scanned with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment. The researchers found that the brains of kids who played Medal of Honor for 30 minutes showed increased emotional arousal, with a corresponding decrease of brain activity in areas that affected self-control and attention. Those negative effects were not present in the kids who played Need for Speed. The research was funded by the Center for Successful Parenting, and the organization’s director, Larry Ley, says the study serves as a warning for parents, who need to monitor closely what video games their children are playing: “There’s enough data that clearly indicates that [game violence] is a problem.