Video Games Might Enhance Cognitive Development In Children, New Study Shows

Although most parents are concerned about the impact video games can have on their kids, from social to mental health problems, a new study has established that they could be beneficial to development. According to a study published in JAMA Network Open, playing video games may have cognitive benefits for children. 

A new study shows gaming might not be as detrimental as thought.

Lead study author Bader Chaarani, a University of Vermont assistant psychiatry professor, said the topic interested him because he is a gamer. In the past research has always focused on the detrimental effects of gaming linking it to increased aggression and depression. However, Charaani says that these studies were limited by the small sample size, especially those that involve brain imaging. 

In the latest study, Charaani and other researchers examined data from the ongoing National Institute of Health Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study. First, researchers looked at survey answers, brand images and cognitive test results from nearly 2,000 participants aged 9-10 years. Then, they divided them into two groups those that played video games for more than three hours and those that never played video games. 

The researcher set the three-hour threshold since it exceeds the recommended daily screen time limit of 1-2 hours of video games. Then, every group received feedback on two tasks. 

Researchers evaluated two tasks in the children 

In the first, researchers asked the kids to press right or left as quickly as possible after observing arrows indicating left or right. Then, to gauge how effectively they could moderate their impulses, they were instructed to cease pressing anything when they encountered a “stop” symbol.

The second task involved working on memory and testing them after they looked at people’s faces and decided if they matched or not. As they conducted the tasks, researchers imaged the brains of the children. 

Researchers concluded that the findings demonstrated that video games might offer cognitive training experience with determinate neurocognitive effects. Interestingly the researchers are looking for more insight as the study continues. 

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