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Light Amount Of Electronic Gaming Linked To Positive Psychosocial Adjustment

August 4, 2014
Image Caption: According to new research, children who played video games for less than one hour per day were more likely to express satisfaction with their lives and demonstrated the highest levels of positive social interactions. Credit: Thinkstock.com

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

Playing video games for no more than one hour per day can have a small but positive impact on childhood development, according to new research published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

In his paper, study author and University of Oxford experimental psychologist Dr. Andrew Przybylski found that children and teenagers who played video games for less than 60 minutes tended to be better adjusted than those who had never played or those who played for more than three hours each day.

“Despite widespread fears that video game usage is harmful,” Emily Gosden of The Telegraph explained that Dr. Przybylski’s research has revealed that children who participate in light daily gaming sessions “are happier, more sociable and less hyperactive than those who don’t play at all.”

Youngsters who used gaming consoles for over three hours every day expressed that they were less satisfied with their lives overall, noted BBC News health reporter Smitha Mundasad. The research also found no positive or negative effects associated of playing for one to three hours per day.

However, the research also suggests the overall influence of video games on children and teens, whether positive or negative, is extremely small in comparison to more “enduring” factors, such as the state of the child’s home, the quality of their relationships at school, and whether or not they are materially deprived.

“These results support recent laboratory-based experiments that have identified the downsides to playing electronic games,” Dr. Przybylski said in a statement. “However, high levels of video game-playing appear to be only weakly linked to children’s behavioral 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,” he added. “Some of the positive effects identified in past gaming research were mirrored in these data but the effects were quite small, suggesting that any benefits may be limited to a narrow range of action games.”

The doctor reviewed the survey results of 5,000 youngsters between the ages of 10 and 15, Mundasad said, and three-fourths of those who responded said that they played video games every day. The participants were asked to quantify how much time they participated in the hobby on a typical school day, then rated a series of other factors, including overall satisfaction with their lives, their relationships with peers, and their hyperactivity levels.

Those who played less than one hour per day were more likely to express satisfaction with their lives and demonstrated the highest levels of positive social interactions, outperforming even non-gamers in these categories. Furthermore, this group also had fewer problems with emotional issues and lower levels of hyperactivity. Those who spent over three hours each day on computers or consoles were found to be the least well adjusted.

“In a research environment that is often polarized between those who believe games have an extremely beneficial role and those who link them to violent acts, this research could provide a new, more nuanced standpoint,” Dr. Przybylski told BBC News. “Being engaged in video games may give children a common language. And for someone who is not part of this conversation, this might end up cutting the young person off.”

He also explained to Gosden that “high levels of video game-playing appear to be only weakly linked to children’s behavioral problems in the real world,” and that the small benefits for low levels of play “do not support the idea that video games on their own can help children develop in an increasingly digital world.”

The author went on to call for additional research to help determine which types of video games were the most harmful and the most beneficial, and said that there was “little scientific basis” to support recommended time limits on playing video games, according to The Telegraph.

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Source: redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online



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