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Female Sexualization in Video Games in Decline Says Study

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A recent study at Indiana University analyzed female video game characters over the last 31 years. The three-decade study spans from 1983 to 2014. That’s pretty much the entire history of video games. “Sexy, Strong, and Secondary: A Content Analysis of Female Characters in Video Games across 31 Years,” was published in the Journal of Communication by Teresa Lynch, Jessica E. Tompkins, Irene I. van Driel, and Niki Fritz. Read More

5 Things Your Kids Are Actually Doing With Their Screen Time

New Article Addresses Concerns over Screen Time

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Screen time has been a hot topic among parents for the past few years. As devices like smartphones and tablets have become more mainstream, parents and doctors are trying to figure out the best way to approach it. A new article by Olivia Solon on Mosaic takes a new look at screen time from multiple perspectives. It’s called “Smartphones won’t make your kids dumb. We think.” Read More

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Only a Quarter of Americans Have Heard of Oculus Rift

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How up to date are you on VR technology? A new survey from Frank N. Magid Associates tells us that while most consumers are interested in virtual reality, 51% of them aren’t familiar with the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, or other specific technologies. That left 25% that were “aware of any single product,” according to a graph put out by the firm. Read More

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Study Finds Differences in Brains of Boys Who Game Often

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A collaborative study between the University of Utah School of Medicine and Chung-Ang University in South Korea has found a correlation between adolescent boys who play games and enhanced coordination between the brain networks that process vision and hearing, and those which govern attention span.

“Hyper-connectivity between these brain networks could lead to a more robust ability to direct attention toward targets, and to recognize novel information in the environment,” says senior author Jeffrey Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of neuroradiology at the University of Utah School of Medicine. “The changes could essentially help someone to think more efficiently.”

They may also lead to greater distractibility, however. “Most of the differences we see could be considered beneficial. However the good changes could be inseparable from problems that come with them,” Anderson noted.

The correlation does not necessarily mean causation—it’s possible that people who are wired in a certain way are simply more drawn to gaming, rather than gaming being a factor in causing the brain differences. (I know that personally, my easy distractibility makes video games a nice retreat, since there’s a lot going on in a game to keep my attention and help me relax. Other activities function similarly for me; drawing while simultaneously watching television, for example.)

It’s also worth noting that there have not yet been any followup studies to see whether the boys who exhibited brain differences do any better on performance tests, so we don’t yet know whether the results of this research indicate that these differences have any impact on day-to-day life.

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Pew Research Finds That Most People Who Game Don’t Call Themselves Gamers

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A new research study from Pew Research has found that while about half of American adults play games on a computer, TV, game console, or mobile device, only 10% consider themselves to be “gamers.”

The study also found that men are twice as likely as women to call themselves “gamers,” despite the fact that equal numbers of men and women play games. Additionally, a majority of Americans (60%) believe that most people who play video games are men–a view that 57% of women who play video games share. Read More