Video games are generally considered harmful to children, but scientists have proven the opposite. Research, published in the journal Nature, showed a link between time spent playing video games and increasing intelligence in children.
The difference was small and not enough to show a cause-and-effect relationship, but still noticeable. It is all the more interesting that the research carefully took into account other factors – the difference in genetics, socio-economic conditions of the child and so on.
At the same time, watching TV and using social networks did not seem to affect intelligence. Research can be useful in answering the question of how much time children can spend behind the screen.
To find out the impact of video games, researchers looked at records of “screen time” of 9,855 children aged 9-10. On average, they watched TV or online video 2.5 hours a day, played video games for another hour, and spent half an hour online.
Two years later, researchers estimated the IQ of more than 5,000 of these children. Those who spent more time playing video games during the study had 2.5 points higher than the average score. Children’s intelligence was measured through reading comprehension, visual-spatial perception, memory, flexibility of thinking and self-control.
It is important that the researchers evaluated only children from the United States and did not make a difference between which games they play – mobile or console. The study raises the question of the impact of games on intelligence, but now in a positive light. It also supports the idea that IQ is not a fixed value programmed from birth.
“Our results confirm that screen time in general does not impair children’s cognitive abilities, and that playing video games can really help increase intelligence,” said one researcher.
Scientists say that more work is needed to study this topic, because there are many factors that affect intelligence. Screen time can also have different effects on people’s bodies and habits.