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Stopping kids from playing video games makes them nicer people, according to a US study out today.

The research from Stanford University suggests that aggressive behaviour can be reversed by cutting the time children spend playing video games or watching TV.

Third and fourth grade children (with an average age of nine) were plucked from two schools in San Jose for the research. A group of 105 pupils from one school were asked how much time they spent watching TV, videos and playing video games; and were asked to abstain for ten days, then watch no more than seven hours a week.

At the outset they watched an average of around 15.5 hours TV per week, five hours of videos, and spent three hours playing video games.

They received lessons on reducing time spent on these activities, and had their TVs hooked up to a device at home to stop them exceeding the limits.

Researchers also followed 120 pupils at the other school, who were a control group and did not change their habits.

Seven months later, the kids in the first group had cut TV watching to nine hours, videos to 3.5 hours, and video game use by half to 1.5 hours. The content of the games and programs was, unfortunately, not assessed, but researchers reckoned there would be a fair amount of carnage involved.

The study found that aggressive incidents by the children in the school playground decreased by around 25 per cent in the first group.

The research appears in the January edition of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, and a summary of the report can be found here.

The average child sees an estimated 200,000 violent acts on TV by the time they reach 18-years-old. ®

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