HOUSTON — A new study found that video games do not harm kids’ cognitive abilities – even if they spend hours gaming each day.
Researchers at Illinois State University and the University of Houston followed 160 preteens in the fifth grade. The kids reported playing more than 150 different video games at home. They shared how much time they spend gaming each day. Then their math and verbal skills were measured with a standardized test used by schools all over the country.
“Whether they play so much – up to four hours a day, or as little as an hour a day - it has no differences in their cognitive abilities,” said May Jadallah, the principal investigator in the study.
Jadallah said she was surprised to see no difference. There were no improvements in kids who play games that are educational or involve fast reflexes. In addition, children who spent the most time gaming didn’t fare any worse than those who spent less time in front of a screen.
The study didn’t investigate the social or behavioral impacts of video games, so Jadallah said more research is needed to get a full picture of their impact on children.
“Parents should not say, ‘Kids you can play as much as you can, or whatever you would like to.’ I would not recommend that at all,” Jadallah said.