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Copyright 2005 Asian News International

[ January 24th 2005 ]

A new study conducted by leading scientist Professor Robert Winston suggests that children who spend hours playing computer games and watching television are failing to develop the skills to succeed at school. According to the Daily Mail, he added that youngsters are not acquiring the long-term powers of study and application they need in class. This is because the games they play and programmes they watch require only short-term bursts of concentration.

The programme surveyed a group of primary school pupils and found one in five had played Grand Theft Auto - a notorious 18- certificate game where players steal cars, kill people and pick up prostitutes. "Many children who love computer games find it hard to concentrate on the sort of tasks that require slow application and are necessary for school success," he said.

Winston studied the impact of computer games on children's ability to tackle various tasks. Those who spend long periods playing quick-fire, adrenaline-pumping games often lack a long- term attention span, he found. Children who have computers and TVs in their bedroom and sit in front of the screens into the early hours instead of getting enough sleep.

"Children are sleeping between two and five hours less than their parents did at the same age. This affects their performance at school and their behaviour at home and some of that is down to computer games," Winston said. "Digital media may well have some dangers as well as some advantages for children. Modern children are spending three to four hours a day in front of a computer or television screen of some kind, often unsupervised," he added.

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