It’s the holiday season and your kid drags you to the video game store. They tell you that they want the next Call of Duty or maybe it’s the latest Guitar Hero game. Then you see that warning on the side, and like any good parent there’s a moment where you have to wonder – do any of these games have a lasting effect on my kids?

It seems every year a new array of studies are released with polarizing claims of the benefits or detriments to playing video games. Helping us sort some of the fact from fiction is Rachel Kowert, a research psychologist who sits on the board for the Digital Games Research Association. She also wrote The Video Game Debate: Unraveling the Physical, Social, and Psychological Effects of Video Games.

She says video games are great, but they do take up an increasing amount of our – and our children’s – spare time. So there’s a lot of concern that interacting in these spaces could have negative effects, Kowert says.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– Whether video games actually increase violence among children

– How video games can improve cognitive functioning, like memory or hand-eye coordination

– What dangers video game addiction can pose

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