A new study indicates that playing video games for a limited amount of time each week may benefit children, but too much can be detrimental. There’s much debate over the potential benefits and risks of video gaming in children and teens. To provide some clarity, Jesus Pujol, MD, of the Hospital del Mar in Spain, and his colleagues investigated the relationship between weekly video game use and certain cognitive abilities and conduct-related problems.
The findings are published in the annals of Neurology. In their study of 2442 children aged 7 to 11 years, the researchers found that playing video games for one hour per week was associated with better motor skills and higher school achievement scores. Still, no further benefits were observed in children playing for more than two hours each week. The team also found that weekly gaming time was steadily linked with conduct problems, peer conflicts, and reduced social abilities, with such negative effects being especially prominent in children who played nine or more hours of video games each week.