Teenagers who spend hours on computer games may have a similar mental make-up as GAMBLING ADDICTS, researchers claim.
A study has found that youngsters who played video or computer games frequently had a larger 'reward centre' in their brains than those who played less often.
The researchers examined a group of 14-year-olds and found that the youngsters who played for more than nine hours a week produced more dopamine - a 'feel-good' chemical.
Worryingly, they were found to produce even more of the chemical when they were losing - something that is often seen in pathological gamblers and which is thought to be what prevents them from stopping even when they are losing.
The researchers also found that players had a reduced decision time – another trait found in gamblers.
The findings are the first to connect frequent gaming with changes in both brain structure and activity. The report, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry, concludes that the study is a crucial first step in understanding whether video games could be addictive.
Do you worry about the amount of time your children spend on video games?
Do you think they are addictive?