A recent study conducted in the United Kingdom concluded that playing video games does not lead to long-term behavioral problems like attention deficit disorder or depression. The University of Glasgow survey was based on the observation of thousands of mothers who tracked the behavior of their children over time. Scientists wanted to know if there was a valid link between the amount of time spent gaming and the development of emotional maturity and healthy intellectual advancement.
The study focused on the impact of video games and television on 11,000 children -- and whether exposure to gaming could eventually lead to battles with anger, depression or ADD. Researchers were curious if games “may have more powerful effects due to active user engagement, identification with characters and repeated rehearsal and reinforcement."
The outcome of the study found that regular exposure to video games had virtually no effect on the behavior of participants. However, viewing three or more hours of television per day at the age of 5 did lead to a minor increase in behavioral problems in children aged 5 to 7, regardless or gender.
While various studies bicker about whether or not video games can have a detrimental effect on the minds of children and adults, many surveys find that avid gamers possess improved reflexes, better cognitive skills and healthier brains. A recent study conducted by Molecular Psychiatry found that “video gaming causes increases in the brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning, as well as fine motor skills,” adding that “video gaming is a highly pervasive activity, providing a multitude of complex cognitive and motor demands.” Researchers also concluded that “video game training could therefore be used to counteract known risk factors for mental diseases … for example, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and neurodegenerative disease.”
Do you think the exposure to video games is beneficial or harmful to young children? Leave a comment below.