Children and teens with autism more likely to become preoccupied with video games

Discussion in 'Parenting News' started by runawaybunny, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Guest

    Children and teens with autism spectrum disorder (Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)) use screen-based media, such as television and video games, more often than their typically developing peers and are more likely to develop problematic video game habits, a University of Missouri researcher found.

    "Many parents and clinicians have noticed that children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are fascinated with technology, and the results of our recent studies certainly support this idea," said Micah Mazurek, an assistant professor of health psychology and a clinical child psychologist at MU. "We found that children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) spent much more time playing video games than typically developing children, and they are much more likely to develop problematic or addictive patterns of video game play."

    Mazurek studied screen-based media use among 202 children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and 179 typically developing siblings. Compared to typically developing children, those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) spent more time playing video games and less time on social media, such as Facebook. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) also spent more time watching TV and playing video games than participating in pro-social or physical activities. Conversely, typically developing children spent more time on non-screen activities than on TV or video games.

    In another study of 169 boys with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), problematic video game use was associated with oppositional behaviors, such as refusing to follow directions or engaging in arguments. Mazurek says carefully controlled research is needed to examine these issues in the future.

    "Because these studies were cross-sectional, it is not clear if there is a causal relationship between video game use and problem behaviors," Mazurek said. "Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) may be attracted to video games because they can be rewarding, visually engaging and do not require face-to-face communication or social interaction. Parents need to be aware that, although video games are especially reinforcing for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) may have problems disengaging from these games."

    Even though Mazurek cautions that too much screen time could be detrimental for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), she says tapping into what children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) enjoy about video games could help researchers and clinicians develop therapies using the technology.

    "Using screen-based technologies, communication and social skills could be taught and reinforced right away," Mazurek said. "However, more research is needed to determine whether the skills children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) might learn in virtual reality environments would translate into actual social interactions."

    Mazurek is an assistant professor in the MU School of Health Professions and a clinical child psychologist at the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. As the largest center in Missouri specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other developmental disorders, the Thompson Center is a national leader in confronting the challenges of autism and other developmental conditions through its collaborative programs that integrate research, clinical service delivery, education and public policy.

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    Story Source:
    The above story is reprinted from materials provided by: University of Missouri-Columbia

    Study Reference:
    The study, "Television, Video Game and Social Media Use among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Typically Developing Siblings," will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. "Video Game Use and Problem Behaviors in Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorders," was published in Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Mazurek also authored an article for The Scientist Magazine about the benefits and possible negative consequences of using screen-based technologies in interventions for children with autism.

    Disclaimer:
    This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ConductDisorders or its staff
     
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