Research: Gamers Are Smarter And Perform Better At School


Playing video games has a positive effect on young children, improving their performance at school and their intelligence levels, according to a new study.

Researchers have found a direct link between the amount of time spent playing video games and the mental health, cognitive, and social skills of young children.

By studying children aged six to 11, the psychologists also discovered that children who spent more time playing video games had no increase in mental health problems.

Each of the children were enrolled in the School Children Mental Health Europe project and the research was carried out by the scientists from Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and Paris Descartes University.

The study found that one in five primary school children spent more than five hours per week playing games.

Those that played the most games had fewer relationship problems with other children.

After adjusting for the age, gender, and family size of the children, they report that the most active gamers were 1.75 times as likely to show ‘high intellectual functioning’.

There was a slightly greater effect at school, with high gamers being 1.88 times as likely to demonstrate high overall school performance.

Parents and teachers assessed their child’s mental health, and the children themselves were also quizzed through an interactive tool.

The study found the keenest gamers were boys, at the older end of the range, and from medium-sized families.

Those with a less educated or single mother spent less time playing video games.

‘Playing video games is often a collaborative leisure activity for children,’ said Dr Katherine Keyes, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, New York.

‘These results indicate that children who frequently play video games may be socially cohesive with peers and integrated into the school community.’

However, Dr Keyes does not recommend letting children play unlimited video games and cautions against over interpretation of these results: ‘Setting limits on screen usage remains an important component of parental responsibility,’ she added.

The research is published in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

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