Drs. Oz & Roizen's Tip of the Day: Violent video games hurt teenagers

King Features SydicateJune 6, 2013 

Call of Duty: Black Ops (dismembered limbs, obscene language, torture) and Hitman: Absolution - $13.6 billion is spent annually in North America so that more than 210 million folks can play video games like these. Many of those players are younger than 18, and that's bad for kids and teens.

We're fans of video games that get kids and adults moving, like Dance, Dance Revolution, and interactive sports, and of those that keep seniors' cognitive skills, memory and muscles strong. But violent games harm young, developing brains by fueling aggressive behavior, dulling empathy and causing sleep problems.

Most parents say they're pretty sure of what their kids are doing online, but 50 percent of kids report having inappropriate-age-rated games ("M" for "mature" and "AO" for "adults only").

A few guidelines:

• Limit game and TV time combined to two hours a day (and not every day). The American Academy of Pediatrics says more time doubles the risk for attention problems.

• Play the video games to make sure you agree with the Entertainment Software Rating Board ratings: EC (early childhood); E (everyone); E10 (those 10 and up); T (teens); M (mature, 17 and up); and AO (adults only).

Spend time together doing physical activities, which reduces stress and improves impulse control.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. Distributed by King Features Syndicate.

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