A study done by Oxford University suggests that a short period of video gaming each day could have a positive, but small, impact on the development of your child.
Scientists have found that young people who played video games for less than one hour each day were better adjusted than those who did not play at all.
Children who made use of consoles for periods in excess of three hours indicated lower satisfaction levels with their lives.
The research has been published in Pediatrics.
Dr Andrew Przybylski, an experimental psychologist, undertook an analysis of British surveys involving 5000 young people between the ages of 10 and 15 years.
Around 75% of the participants stated that they played video games on a daily basis.
The children were asked to state the amount of time they spend on gaming on computers or consoles, on a normal school day. They were then requested to rate several factors, including:
• The level of their peer-to-peer relationships
• Life satisfaction
• Inattention and hyperactivity levels
• How likely they would be to help other people who are in difficulty
The answers to these questions were combined to do an assessment of social and psychological adjustment.
When the results were compared with other groups, including groups who played no video games at all, it was found that young people who report playing less than one hour per day were more likely to state that they were satisfied with their lives and indicated the highest levels of positive social interaction.
This group also indicated fewer emotional problems and had lower levels of hyperactivity.
The results indicated that those who played more than three hours of games were the least well-adjusted.
Dr Przybylski has listed many reasons for this.
He said that in a research environment that is divided between those who are of the opinion that games are beneficial and those who link them to violent acts, this particular research could offer a new stance.
He said that being involved in video games could give children a common language and if someone is not involved in this conversation, they could be distanced.
He raised an argument that guidelines and policies which impose limits on the use of this type of technology should heed the evidence available.
Dr Przybylski pointed out that although the effect of these games on children in is important in this study, other factors such as the strength of relationships within the family play a much bigger role.
Birkbeck, University of London’s Dr Iroise Dumontheil, who had no role in the research, said that other studies have indicated that playing first-person shooter games, not any other types, could result in increased visuospatial processing and enhanced memory abilities.
She stated that further research will aid in determining whether particular types of games hinder or help adolescents as they adjust to the changes they have experienced during development.
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