Rise in video games may lead to decline in interest in nature

February 5, 2008 9:04:17 AM PST
Researchers are concerned that as people spend more time communing with TVs and computers they may lose interest in nature and, eventually, lose interest in conservation and parks. They say their health could suffer as well. The research appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that camping, fishing and per capita visits to parks are all declining as people spend more of their lives looking at a screen.

The authors warn there could be less interest in biodiversity and also that children's "videophilia" has been shown to be a cause of obesity, lack of socialization, attention disorders and poor academic performance.

Researchers found that the steep declines in outdoor activities coincided with the rapid growth of video games. They found that fishing peaked in 1981 and had declined 25 percent by 2005 and that visits to national parks peaked in 1987 and dropped 23 percent by 2006. The research was funded by The Nature Conservancy.

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: http://www.pnas.org

The Nature Conservancy: http://natureconservancy.org