Video Games Linked to 'Addictive Behavior' in Children With Autism and ADHD

According to new reports, boys with autism are spending more time playing video games than non-autistic boys, and the high level of play could be problematic to their development.

Pediatrics journal found that autistic boys played two hours of video games, which is twice the amount of time typically developing teens spent.

Parents of boys ages 8 to 18 were surveyed for the study. 56 children had autism, 44 had ADHD, and 41 children had no disorders.

Addictive video game behavior was found in greater numbers the autistic and ADHD children. Those with autism had a higher propensity to enjoy role playing games (RPG).

"These results suggest that children with ASD and those with ADHD may be at particularly high risk for significant problems related to video game play, including excessive and problematic video game use," Micah Mazurek and Christopher Engelhardt, authors of the study wrote. "Attention problems, in particular, are associated with problematic video game play for children with ASD and ADHD, and role-playing games appear to be related to problematic game use particularly among children with ASD."

Another report done by Mazurek found that RPGs also invoked a lot of arguing in children with autism, although it is unclear on why these children were drawn to this genre.

Long-term impact of video games on children with developmental disorders are not entirely known yet, but the evidence and research suggests addictive behaviors and problematic gaming is immediately evident, reports

"Mastery of a video game by a boy with ASD may lead to improved self-esteem," said Dr. Andrew Adesman, a behavioral pediatric according to CBS News.

"It is important to understand how video games and other technologies can be used to help support and educate individuals with autism," the senior vice president for scientific affairs at Autism Speaks, Andy Shih, told CBS News. "This study highlights some issues that, if confirmed and elaborated by additional research, could inform decisions on when and how to use these technologies to maximize benefits and minimize potential risks."