More researchers are finally studying the benefits of video games for children, instead of the disadvantages. And, the results look good for the kids. A study published by medical journal JAMA Network Open notes how gaming may help children with cognitive and impulse control.
Prior studies have linked video games to intelligence, and depression. A study by Psychological Medicine in 2021 found that kids who play video games tend to suffer from fewer mental disorders, including anxiety and depression.
“Although most research has linked video gaming to subsequent increases in aggressive behaviour in children after accounting for prior aggression, findings have been divided with respect to video gaming’s association with cognitive skills,” notes the study.
What makes this particular new study different from the many studies done linking gaming and brain function in children?
Well, it is part of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study, which involved the largest group of children to date. All in all, 2217 children aged 9-10-years-old took part.
Researchers asked: “What is the association between video gaming and cognition in children?”
The kids were divided into groups. One group played games, and the other did not. They were given two tests that measure short-term memory and impulse control while undergoing brain imaging. The group that played video games displayed enhanced cognitive performance.
“These findings suggest that video gaming may be associated with improved cognitive abilities involving response inhibition and working memory and with alterations in underlying cortical pathways,” notes the study.
The study found that kids who played video games for three to four hours a day performed better at tasks involving impulse and memory compared to kids who did not play video games at all. Three to four hours seems a bit long in our opinion, but we’re not scientists. You’ll make the call on that one, but we bet your kids wouldn’t mind the extra playtime.
Kids who played video games also performed better at activities linked to attention and memory. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, focused on video games in particular.