A Little Video Gaming Could Have A Small Positive Impact

August 5, 2014 Published by

Parents often worry that video gaming may have a negative impact on the social and emotional development of their children, however a recent study by Oxford University suggested a link between a small amount of video gaming and well adjusted children, as reported by BBC News today: A little video gaming ‘linked to well-adjusted children’.  This does not surprise us at Fundamentally Children where we try to encourage parents to focus on ensuring their children have a balanced play diet rather than banning video gaming / screen time altogether.

Girls textingThe Oxford University study involved 5000 young people between 10 and 15 years old analysed by experimental psychologist Dr. Andrew Przybylski and published in the journal Paediatrics showed that those who used video games for under an hour per day (compared to those who used more or none):

  • were most likely to say they were satisfied with their lives
  • showed the highest levels of positive social interactions
  • showed fewer problems with emotional issues
  • showed lower levels of hyperactivity

Conversely those who played for more than three hours per day were the least well adjusted.

At Fundamentally Children we are not surprised by these results.  Like it or not, for this age group, video gaming and other screen-based activities are now part of daily lives.  Children use them to communicate and play together with their friends, they are also regularly key topics of discussion amongst young people.  We would not be surprised to find those who do not use video gaming at all therefore feel left out leading to negative levels of satisfaction and other emotional consequences.

We believe the best way to manage video gaming and other screen time for children is to focus on ensuring your child has a balanced play diet.  A balanced play diet much like a balanced nutritional diet focuses on balancing different types of play activities.  Just as it’s hard to have too much fruit and veg, there are play activities, such as active or imaginative play that children should have more of than other types but there is still a place for video gaming and screen time – in fact it may have a positive impact as this study shows.  Of course, if video gaming is played to excess this is likely to be at the expense of other types of play and we would expect it to have a detrimental impact, as this study shows for those who play three hours per day or more.

A healthy play diet is vital for children's development.

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This post was written by Fundamentally Children

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