Study: Playing Video Games May Benefit Kids

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 08/04/2014 | 04:30 PM EDT

Researchers at Oxford University find that 10 to 15 year olds who play game consoles are more well adjusted

You may want to reconsider the next time you take away your child’s video game, as new research highlights some of its great benefits.


The new study published in the Pediatrics finds that playing video games for up to an hour a day can be beneficial for 10-to-15-year-olds.


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Researchers at Oxford University explored “electronic gaming and psychosocial adjustment” by examining the positive and negative effects of video gaming on a representative sample of 5,000 children and teenagers in the UK.


The study found that a little gaming helps children feel well adjusted, even when compared to 10-to-15-year-olds kids who do not play console games at all.


Children who play console or computer games for up to an hour a day were the most likely to express satisfaction with their lives. They also had the highest levels of sociability, and appeared to have fewer friendships, emotional or hyperactivity issues than other subjects in the study.


However, there are limits when it comes to video game playing - or at least there should be. Children who played for three hours or more a day were less well adjusted than those who played for only an hour.

The New York Daily News reports:

The study's author, Dr. Andrew Przybylski, speculates that this could be related to how much of a child's free time is taken up by video gaming. If a child has three-to-four hours' free time a day and the majority of it is taken up by gaming, then he or she is missing out on other valuable, enriching activities.

"These results support recent laboratory-based experiments that have identified the downsides to playing electronic games. However, high levels of video game-playing appear to be only weakly linked to children's behavioural problems in the real world. Likewise, the small, positive effects we observed for low levels of play on electronic games do not support the idea that video games on their own can help children develop in an increasingly digital world," said Dr. Przybylski, who believes that more research will now need to be done into understanding what types of games have the biggest positive benefit on children and how other external factors impact on childhood and adolescent development.

(Photo: Bruce Laurance/Getty Images)

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