My mum always used to tell me off for spending too much time playing video games – but now I make money writing about them, so I showed her. Parents all over the world are worried about how much time their kids spend sat in front of screens playing, but a new study shows that the virtual toys aren’t as bad for kids as parents might think – they can even be beneficial.
A recent study found that children who play video games do not seem to suffer from any negative consequences of their screen time. It even suggests that playing action games improves children’s response times.
“But what about their school work? All the gaming and no time doing homework must be bad!” I hear you say. Well, the study “found no direct relationship between time spent on video games and grades.” The study even goes so far as to say, “Gaming might affect educational performance by improving cognition, albeit indirectly, given the link between video gaming and cognition (increased speed) and the link between cognition and grades.”
What the study did find, was that as kids get older, the amount of media they use simultaneously increases. The study calls this “media multitasking.” Media multitasking is when you go on your phone while watching a film, or listen to Red (Taylor’s Version) while you write a news article.
“Higher levels of media multitasking were associated with higher levels of psychological distress, lower levels of socioemotional functioning, worse behavior and attention ratings by both teachers and parents, worse sleep and lower levels of grit.
“These results are in line with past research reporting an association between media multitasking and increased depression and anxiety among young adults.”
So, if your child is able to focus on playing video games for a couple of hours after they’ve finished their homework, this data suggests you have anything to worry about. However, if they need seven screens all doing a different thing to keep them entertained, that might be an issue.
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