Computer games are spawning a generation of aggressive, rude and uncooperative children, research has claimed.
Children are spending up to 16 hours a week or more playing the games outside school hours, even during school term.
One 15-year-old boy questioned as part of the research by the British Association of Anger Management (BAAM) revealed he spent 18 hours a day playing computer games during his school holidays.
The BAAM has warned that youngsters start to withdraw from family life and interaction with friends but parents ignore the problem to avoid squabbles with their children.
Some 204 parents of children aged from nine to 18 were surveyed about their children’s use of video games, with 46% revealing they had become ‘less co-operative’ since starting to use them.
Other alarming descriptions of ‘rude or intolerant behaviour towards others’ were reported by 44% of parents; 40% said their children had become more impatient; 29% cited more mood swings; while 26% said their youngsters had become more aggressive.
Mike Fisher, director of the association, which provides one to one sessions for children said parents came to them when their kids begin playing up in school and at home with a “very high percentage” of their work being with “compulsive, obsessive online gaming addicts”.
He said children affected by the problem became irritable with simple requests to clean their rooms or to do their homework or even to come to dinner.
“Classic addition symptoms are wanting to isolate themselves in their room and play games all day. Any distraction from the addiction and they become hostile and impatient.
“Other symptoms are poor concentration, not eating enough, not brushing their teeth or even bathing,” Mr Fisher said in the Daily Mail.
He said weaning children off such behavior, which can hold the whole family hostage, involves parents setting ground rules limiting game use and even bans for misbehaviour.
The research comes as a west Yorkshire teacher, Alison Sherratt, revealed that children as young as four were hitting other kids, re-enacting scenes from violent 18-rated computer games.