Playing video games may help children develop, concludes a recently published study that found no psychological harm and some benefits.
“It’s not bonkers, concludes Jill Barshay on the Hechinger Report.
A team of researchers analyzed the video game-playing habits of elementary-school-aged children in Europe in 2010, she writes. “They found that children who played at least five hours a week had fewer psychological problems than students who didn’t play video games as much, and were rated by their teachers as better students, both academically and in social adjustment.”
Once video gamers tended to be “the isolated, techy, brainy kids,” said Katherine Keyes, a Columbia professor who’s one of the 13 authors. Now playing video games is “part of a normal childhood.”
. . . kids who play a lot of video games are socially integrated, they’re prosocial, they have good school functioning and we don’t see any association with adverse mental health outcomes.”
“It’s the kids who don’t actively engage with their peers around gaming and other types of popular children’s leisure activities that are perhaps more at risk for developing problems,” Keyes added.
There are no large studies showing that playing video games — even violent games — harms children, she said. But it’s possible that children who play 10 to 20 hours a week could be harmed.
Keyes limits her own grade-school-age son to 20 minutes a day of screen time, she told Barshay. “After homework.”