New Studies Show That Video Games Are Not A Danger To The Brains Of Preteens


Sometimes, scientific work can disprove intuitive rationalization that has been known to be many. However, a recent study found that video games do not actually have an impact on children’s brains. Meaning, these don’t do damage. In fact, the studies have also shown that some games that were designed to help children build healthy brain skills aren’t effective either.

Researchers from the University of Houston have studied this and they claimed that despite parents’ widespread fear, even spending 4.5 hours on a console such as Playstation or Xbox will have zero impact on the brain functions of these children.

The experts just said that the only downside to this is that time spent gaming could take away their from other more important responsibilities for school, but even that had very little impact on the brain skills when compared to their other peers.

Professor Jie Zhang has been working on curriculum and instruction at the University of Houston’s College of Education. He said that during the study, they saw that there was no connection between what video games were played, how long the children spent time on these, and how well they performed during cognitive tests.

“Our studies turned up no such links, regardless of how long the children played and what types of games they chose,” Dr. Zhang explained. “The study results show parents probably don’t have to worry so much about cognitive setbacks among video game-loving children, up to fifth grade.”

“Reasonable amounts of video gaming should be okay, which will be delightful news for the kids. Just keep an eye out for obsessive behavior. At least now we understand that finding balance in childhood development is the key, and there’s no need for us to over-worry about video gaming.”

The study has been published in the Journal of Media Psychology and the researchers behind it looked into the gaming habits of 160 diverse urban public-school preteen students, 70 of them came from lower-income households.

It was only during this study that someone looked into this age group and studied the impact of video games on brain functioning.

The students who participated in the study reported playing video games for an average of 2.5 hours per day, with the longest playing time of 4.5 hours.

Researchers looked for a connection between gaming and how the kids performed on standardized Cognitive Ability Test 7 (CogAT), which is very much like the Canadian CCAT. Both these tests evaluate verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal or spatial skills of the test-taker.

Neither play duration nor the choice of video game affected the scores, while a slight deficit was found among children who played games instead of doing homework.

However, it also must be noted that screen time and video gaming are not equal in their ambivalent impact on cognitive ability. Over 9,000 boys and girls in the USA were part in the study GNN reported on last year.

The study that was mentioned above found that children who spent an above-average time playing video games had an intelligence of more than the average. On the other hand, TV watching or social media had neither a positive nor a negative effect on them.

“We didn’t examine the effects of screen behavior on physical activity, sleep, well-being or school performance, so we can’t say anything about that,” said Torkel Klingberg. He is a professor of cognitive neuroscience at the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute. He was not the one who conducted the study.

“But our results support the claim that screen time generally doesn’t impair children’s cognitive abilities, and that playing video games can actually help boost intelligence. This is consistent with several experimental studies of video-game playing.”