Video Games Good for Children’s Brains - Dispatch Weekly

September 12, 2016 - Reading time: 3 minutes

  New research by Doctor Jesus Pujol, of the Hospital del Mar in Spain and colleagues, found that playing video games can be good for children’s brains, if they play no more than two hours a week.

Playing more than two-hours of games increases the likelihood that children would get into trouble at school and was likely to reduce the social skills.

However, by controlling their weekly hourly gaming, children aged 7-11 improved their scores at school.

The Study

More than 2,400 children aged 7-11 were studied and the results were published on the journal Annals of Neurology. Findings pointed to the fact that playing video games for one hour per week was associated with better motor skills and higher school achievement scores.

There were no other benefits to playing more than two hours of video games a week.

The State of Gaming: Trends, Figures and Statistics

According to the State of Gaming, 2014 study:

Revenue from gaming is up and on par with the movie industry: game sales were $24 billion and have outpaced movie box office sales (just under $10 billion per year). Games are now a serious competitor to the entire TV and film industry.

Asia is the hotbed for gaming: China saw a 34% increase in games revenue in 2012, and online gaming made up a whopping 94% of the pie.

58 % of Americans play video games, the average age is 30 and 62% of all gamers are adults.

The State of Gaming, 2014
The State of Gaming, 2014

Negative Effects

Dr Pujol said: “Video gaming per se is neither good nor bad, but its level of use makes it so.”

For example, those who played more than nine hours a week had problems such as lower social ability and peer conflict problems.

MRI Scans, Brains and Creativity

Dr Pujol found that, “Gaming use was associated with better function in brain circuits critical for learning based on the acquisition of new skills through practice.”

“Children traditionally acquire motor skills through action, for instance in relation to sports and outdoor games.”

MRI scans of the children’s brains showed that gaming was linked to changes in basal ganglia white matter and functional connectivity.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.