Do kids who play video games do worse in school? Two new scientific studies show how owning a video game system and playing violent games affect children.
Two new scientific studies may have parents re-thinking plans to get a video game system for their children. These are scientific studies that all parents should read and regard. A good parent doesn’t just buy their children whatever they want, but instead are well-informed on the decisions they make that affect their kids.
Study #1: Video Games Hurt Academics
Too much video game playing is bad for your boy’s grades. A new study was done with families who have boys between the ages of 6 and 9. These are families who did not have a video game system in their home, but were considering buying one. Well after these results were made public, I’d assume many would have their answer on whether or not they want a game system for their kids to play everyday.
These young boys were initially tested on their reading ability and intelligence level. Then half of these families went home with their own gaming system, while the other half left without one. After four months the families were brought back in to see what (if anything) had changed.
The new tests found that the boys who had video games at home had significantly lower reading and writing skills than the boys who were still waiting for a game system. During these four months the parents were also keeping track of potential behavior problems. Although there wasn’t a significant difference between these groups in regard to behavior, the boys who got the video game systems did have greater teacher-reported learning problems.
The study concluded something rather obvious. The boys with the video games were spending a lot of time playing games instead of academic-related activities, like reading or homework.
How will this affect girls? You could assume similar results would occur, but science hasn’t weighed in on that yet. For now it’s up to parents to decide if a video game system should be in the home and if so, if any time restrictions should be placed on it.
Study #2: Violent Games lead to Violent Kids
A new study published in the Psychological Bulletin proves that violent video games do lead to more violent children. It doesn’t matter what their gender is, their age, or their culture. Video games that have heavy violent themes are linked to thoughts of aggression and decreased sympathy of others. This thinking then makes a child more prone to aggressive behavior or acts that are not socially benefitting.
This study involved scientific researchers along with video game developers. In total more than 100,000 subjects were studied in coming to the conclusion.
While the researchers do claim their results are conclusive, they do not intend to imply that these effects are dramatic. For example, there is no claim that a child would be more likely to join a gang because he plays violent video games.
One’s culture can also contribute to aggressive behavior, just as genetics can. However neither of those factors is something a parent can have much control over. You can’t change a child’s genetics, but you can change what video games you allow in your home.
In conclusion, these studies seem to prove an old saying – everything in moderation. If you’re going to buy a video game system, don’t just let your child play it for hours every night. And take a close look at what games your child is playing. The games don’t all have to be “G” rated for your teens, but take a few minutes to read about them online so you know whether or not they are violent games.
It may make you feel like a super parent when your child screams with glee opening that new video game or game system, but are you really doing what’s best for your child? He may want to eat sugary treats but you know better than to feed him that all day. Be a pro-active parent in what you allow for your children, as it does matter. Being a “mean mom” who won’t let your child have the game they want may lose you “cool points”, but it may mean your child does better in school. It’s up to each parent to decide what’s more important.