AUSTIN, Tex. (CBS/KEYE) -- Children playing video games is a favorite pastime, especially during these hot summer months. But there's new data that shows spending time in front of a screen may be permanently damaging to a child's brain, especially boys.
The lure is obvious: thrilling animation, life-like sounds, using strategy to achieve victory, all part of the aura that has made video games a $68 billion a year industry, more than double that of publishing world.
But new data uncovered by Stanford researcher Phillip Zimbardo has many parents pulling the plug on the gaming systems. In his eBook, the Demise of Guys, Zimbardo says when a child plays a video game, especially violent games hours on end, it can halt the development of the part of the brain associated with motivation - especially the brain of a young boy. Gamer Jace Cienega says, "Normal life, you can't be like you are like in a video game...in a video game you are pretty much unstoppable."
Ennalugo Zorola's son is a gamer says, "He was playing 2-3 hours, and he fainted his eyes turned white, turned back, and we had to call the ambulance."
And the effects of an entire generation of boys glued to a screen could have devastating long term societal consequences. Consider this: In school, girls now outperform boys at every level.
Boys account for 70 percent of all the D's and F's given out at school. By 2016, women will earn 60 percent of bachelor's, 63 percent of Master's and 54 percent of doctorate degrees.
While this may be partially due to the rise of women in job equality and opportunity, Zimbardo believes there's something amiss with boys.
Austin child psychologist Dr. Carl Pickhardt says, "It's all high stimulation entertainment...in the videogames for boys it is how do you act manly with men. And then we put them in school over here that is a static boring model that can't compete"
One researcher estimates that the average young person will spend 10,000 hours gaming by age 21, it only takes half that amount of time to complete a bachelor's degree.
So are all video games bad all the time? Not necessarily. Child experts give a thumbs up to the Wii gaming system, when the game involves physical activity and the whole family plays together.
Experts also recommend getting your kids for one week to track exactly how they spend their time. Include everything - sleeping, time at school, homework, chores, playing outside, television, and video games. You - and they - may be surprised by the results.