Video games: the kids who play them are smarter than the rest

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  • Published on 10/26/2022 at 09:06, updated on 10/26/2022 at 09:06

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    Here’s a study that will reassure parents whose offspring are addicted to video games: Kids who play video games are smarter than other kids of the same age. The results were obtained by researchers from the University of Vermont (USA), who observed more than 2,000 children aged 9 to 10 years.

    This study goes against conventional wisdom: while video games are often blamed for all the evils, the conclusions of this work argue that children who play them are smarter than their peers of the same age.

    Three or more hours a day

    Video games are not a waste of time at all, they can stimulate certain cognitive abilities. This was demonstrated by American researchers who compared children who play at least three hours a day with children who do not play.

    To do this, the children were divided into two groups depending on their play time per day. 1278 children said they never played video games, and the remaining 800 said they use them for at least three hours a day.

    Best test results

    The authors then subjected 2,078 children to tests that assessed their reaction time, problem solving skills, and memory, as well as a functional MRI to measure their brain activity.

    Result: Children who play three hours or more a day, on average, score better on tests of cognition and memory than their peers. The scientists also found more activity in the areas of the brain responsible for every function, including more activity in the gyri and precuneus associated with attention and memory. According to Dr. Stéphane Cleje, a child psychiatrist in Paris, these findings are consistent: “Video games have been proven to stimulate certain abilities because they are involved in the development of certain areas of the brain.”

    observational study

    If the results appear to be favorable for children playing video games, the authors nevertheless clarify their findings by pointing out that their study was observational and therefore could not prove whether the improvement in these abilities was due to video games or some other factor.

    The researchers also note that all kinds of games and modes (solo, multiplayer, etc.) have not been tested. “While we cannot say whether regular video games have led to higher neurocognitive functions, this is an encouraging finding and we need to continue to investigate these children as they transition into adolescence and adulthood.”

    Should video games be encouraged?

    If the results of this work are not conclusive, playing video games may still be beneficial for the child. So should we let him play for that long? “Of course not,” says Dr. Stefan Klerge. “While video games may stimulate certain cognitive abilities, they harm others in children, such as social and relational abilities and the interruption of external activities. The child should be allowed to play, but not more than an hour a day,” concludes the researcher. specialist.

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