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Playing video games can help increase children’s intelligence – unlike watching TV!

Many parents feel guilty when their children stare at screens for hours – and some even fear that it will make them less smart.

But a new study suggests that spending an above-average time playing video games can actually boost kids’ intelligence.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden conducted psychological tests on more than 5,000 children in the US between the ages of 10 and 12 to measure their general cognitive skills.

The children and their parents were also asked how much time the children spent watching TV and videos, playing video games and using social media.

The researchers followed up the children two years later, after which they were asked to repeat the psychological tests.

The results showed that those who played more games than the average increased their intelligence by about 2.5 IQ points more than the average between the two measurements.

No significant effect, positive or negative, was observed from TV viewing or social media.

Children who played more games than average increased their intelligence by about 2.5 IQ points more than the two-year average

Violent video games DO NOT make players more aggressive in real life

Shooter video games like Call of Duty are often cited as the motivation for real gun crimes.

But according to a recent study, there is no evidence that these games cause violence in the real world.

The researchers looked at how the violent behavior of adolescent boys is affected by the release of new violent video games in the US.

They concluded that policies designed to restrict the sale of video games to minors — as attempted by several US states — are unlikely to reduce violence.

“While children who played more video games at 10 years of age were no more intelligent on average than children who did not game, at 2 years they showed the most gains in intelligence,” said Torkel Klingberg, a professor of cognitive neuroscience in the Department of Neuroscience. , Karolinska Institutet.

For example, a child who was in the top 17 percent of hours spent gaming increased his IQ by about 2.5 points more than the average child in two years.

“This is evidence of a beneficial causal effect of video games on intelligence.”

For the study, the researchers created an intelligence index of five tasks: two on reading comprehension and vocabulary, one on attention and executive function, one on assessing visual-spatial processing, and one on learning ability.

By repeating the psychological tests two years apart, the researchers were able to study how the children’s performance varied from one test session to the next, as well as check for individual differences in the first test.

They also checked for genetic differences that may affect intelligence and differences that may be related to parental educational background and income.

“If unexplained, these factors may mask the true effect of screen time on children’s intelligence,” the researchers said.

‘For example, children born with certain genes are more likely to watch TV and have independent learning difficulties.’

On average, children spent two and a half hours a day watching online videos or TV shows, half an hour socializing online, and an hour playing video games.

In all, that’s four hours a day of screen time for the average kid and six hours for the top 25 percent — a big chunk of a kid’s free time.

On average, children spent two and a half hours a day watching online videos or TV shows, half an hour socializing online and an hour playing video games.

On average, children spent two and a half hours a day watching online videos or TV shows, half an hour socializing online and an hour playing video games.

The many hours of Instagramming and messaging was not beneficial for children’s intelligence, but it was also not harmful, according to the researchers.

Watching TV and online videos showed a positive effect in one of the analyses, but no effect when parental upbringing was taken into account.

“Our results should not be taken as a general recommendation for all parents to enable unlimited gaming,” the researchers said.

“But for those parents who are bothered by their kids playing video games, you can feel better now knowing it probably makes them a little bit smarter.”

The results are in line with recent research showing that intelligence is not a constant, but a quality that is influenced by environmental factors.

However, the researchers note that their study did not distinguish between different types of video games, making the results difficult to transfer to children with different gaming habits.

They also didn’t look at things like mental health, sleep quality, and exercise.

“We are now going to study the effects of other environmental factors and how the cognitive effects are related to brain development in children,” says Klingberg.

The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.


The World Health Organization has classified video game playing on the Internet as an official mental disorder.

‘Gaming Disorder’ is defined as ‘a pattern of gaming behavior characterized by decreased control over gaming, increasing priority of gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.’

To be diagnosed with a gambling disorder, the individual must:

(1) Experience significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other significant area of ​​functioning

(2) Have experienced this disability for at least 12 months

The WHO advises gamers to be aware of the amount of time they spend playing, especially if it excludes other daily activities.

They should also be alert to changes in their physical or psychological health and social functioning that can be attributed to gaming.

Source: WHO

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