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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Let Nick Saban be the one to tell you, when you play video games you spend time as opposed to investing time.

As he says, “When you spend time you play X-Box. That’s spending time. It accomplishes nothing…blowing people up on that thing doesn’t do you any good. It doesn’t help you accomplish anything.”

To his point, just how much time is spent playing video games?

Well, as it were, a study of gamers appeared in the journal CyberPsychology and Behavior. The study, written by Richard T.A. Wood Ph.D., Mark Griffiths Ph.D. and Adrian Parke B.Sc, M.Res asked gamers to report how often they got sucked into games, for better or worse, and when they lost track of time while gaming, plus how much time they lost.

As it turned out, the mean number of hours that participants reported playing videogames was 12.5 hours per week, while the majority of participants regularly played online games (61.1%).

Almost all of the participants reported that they had experienced time loss whilst playing videogames (99%), of which 17% experienced time loss occasionally, 49% frequently, and 33% all the time. There were no significant gender differences.

And while the study ultimately concluded…

“…that for many gamers, losing track of time is a positive experience and is one of the main reasons for playing video games.”

…there were plenty of instances in which the gamers realized, as Nick Saban puts it, just how much time they were spending, as opposed to investing.

*** Nothing is gained from playing a game…It prevents you from doing constructive things like coursework (Male, age 21).

*** I should be using my time more constructively, or going to sleep earlier (Male, age 19).

*** Time is valuable and wasting it on games is a tad pointless. Playing on a game means I don’t get the sleep which I need to function properly the next day or I’ll just get moody (Female, age 18).

*** You tend to neglect more important things than play, like your partner, pet, homework and sleep (Female, age 23).

*** Losing track of time during the day can be very bad, especially when you’ve got lectures/work/important meetings/girlfriend or boyfriend (Male, age 20).

*** I find sometimes that I miss things I shouldn’t, like eating dinner or an early morning lecture. I don’t think that’s a good thing (Male, age 22).

And while the study found that they were some positive implications from heavy video game use – one user quit smoking from spending so much time playing video games as it distracted her from her nicotine cravings – the amount of time spent (and therefore lost) relative to the amount if time invested is quite clear.

Nick Saban didn’t even need to conduct an in-depth research study to figure this out.

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