Boys with autism spend more time playing video games

Boys who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to spend excessive amounts of time playing video games compared to boys without ASD, MedPage Today reported.

In a study published in Pediatrics, researchers examined video game use – as reported by parents – in 56 boys with autism spectrum disorder, 44 boys with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and 41 boys with typical development. All of the study participants were between 8 and 18 years of age.

Children with ASD spent an average of 2.1 hours playing video games every day, compared to only 1.2 hours for their typically-developing peers. Boys with ADHD also spent more time playing video games than typically-developing children, but the difference was not statistically significant.

Children with either ASD or ADHD were also significantly more likely to have a video game system installed in their bedrooms than typically developing children, MedPage Today reported.

Parents also reported the types of games that most interested their children, though no specific genre of video games was reported to be favored among children with autism or ADHD. However, typically-developing children were more likely to favor games involving sports or shooting.

Additionally, children with ASD or ADHD who played role-playing video games exhibited higher levels or problematic game use than those who played non-role-play games, the study’s authors reported.

"These results shed light into potential associated features of problematic game use and are consistent with previous studies linking impulsivity and inattention with problematic video game use," the study’s authors stated.

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