Video games are not damaging children’s brains: Study
"Delightful news for the kids. Just keep an eye out for obsessive behavior."
By Pol Allingham via SWNS
Video games are not damaging children’s brains, according to a new study.
But scientists also discovered that games aimed at helping children build healthy brain skills don’t actually work either.
Researchers from the University of Houston claimed that despite parents’ widespread fear, even spending 4.5 hours on a games console does not impact kids' brain function.
The experts warned time spent gaming could take kids away from homework, but even that made minimal impact on their brain skills versus their peers.
Professor Jie Zhang, working on curriculum and instruction at the University of Houston’s College of Education, said the study revealed no links between what video games were played, how long they were played for, and how well children performed on cognitive tests.
She said: “Our studies turned up no such links, regardless of how long the children played and what types of games they chose.
“The study results show parents probably don’t have to worry so much about cognitive setbacks among video game-loving children, up to fifth grade (UK Year 6).
“Reasonable amounts of video gaming should be okay, which will be delightful news for the kids. Just keep an eye out for obsessive behavior.
“When it comes to video games, finding common ground between parents and young kids is tricky enough.
“At least now we understand that finding balance in childhood development is the key, and there’s no need for us to over-worry about video gaming.”
The study published in the Journal of Media Psychology examined the gaming habits of 160 diverse urban public-school preteen students, 70 percent of whom were from lower-income households.
Until now the age group has been understudied.
Participating students reported playing video games an average of 2.5 hours daily, with the heaviest gamers racking up 4.5 hours.
Researchers looked for a link between gaming and how they performed on a standardized Congitive Ability Test 7 (CogAT).
The test evaluated verbal, quantitative and non-verbal or spatial skills - previous research relied on teacher-reported grades or self-reported learning assessments.
Principal investigator Professor May Jadalla, from the School of Teaching and Learning at Illinois State University, said: “Overall, neither duration of play nor choice of video game genres had significant correlations with the CogAT measures.
“That result shows no direct linkage between video game playing and cognitive performance, despite what had been assumed.”
There was only a very slight difference in CogAT scores between the kids who played games over doing homework and those who didn’t.
Professor Shawn Green, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, added: “The current study found results consistent with previous research showing that types of gameplay that seem to augment cognitive functions in young adults don’t have the same impact in much younger children.”
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