An Hour of Video Games Per Day Can Be Beneficial to Kids

New study says children who play games for a few hours a week were better adjusted and had fewer conduct problems than those who do not.

A new study from researchers at Oxford University found that video games can be good for children, but only if they play for around an hour or less per day.

The study, published today in Pediatrics, found that children who played games for a few hours each week were better adjusted, had fewer conduct problems, and better empathized with others than those who played no games at all, according to a breakdown of the report from Today and BBC.

When children started playing one to three hours per day, the positive effects fell away. According to the study of 5,000 girls and boys aged 10-15, children who played even more than that were more likely to have issues with hyperactivity and inattention, show a lack of compassion for others, and generally feel less satisfied with life.

The study's author, Oxford experimental psychologist Andrew Przybylski, said he hopes the results will comfort parents who think playing video games is harmful for their children. Future studies on the subject should look at other aspects of gaming, including children's motivations for play and the "structural affordances of different kinds of gaming contexts," Przybylski said.

You can read the study at the Pediatrics website.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
46 comments
crashmer
crashmer

"...one to three hours per day, the positive effects fell away." 


So as long as you play less than one or more than three hours you'll be fine.

veryDERPY
veryDERPY

i can have more entertainment playing with...chalk for an hour. and lemme tell you if you think fox news is bad then you have not seen britbong television.

sanchango
sanchango

@veryDERPY there's something worse than fox news?!? time to watch...and then laugh...and then flip tables after hearing the bs.

warriors30
warriors30

One hour of gaming per day is nothing. I play way more than that and I'm a grown up man...I guess. Whatever. We're talking about kids here! Let them be kids. 3 hours of gaming per day is fine, it only depends on the games (no f***ing COD!) your kid is playing. Don't let them play the same game for 3 hours straight, no, mix it up a bit, keep it interesting...and be aware of what your kid is playing. 

A mother and father who don't give a sh** about their son's/daughter's hobby can do more harm than a violent game itself. 

Hurvl
Hurvl

Playing games just for an hour isn't fun, whenever I decide to play games I want to be able to do it at least 3 hours. Anything less than that just feels half-assed and makes me feel generally dissatisfied with my gaming experience. I also like to read books for 3 hours or more or watch a movie for 3 hours, even if the movie is only two hours, because I like to watch the action sequences again, so I'll do a lot of rewinding.

wizardjenkins
wizardjenkins

It can be especially beneficial if you plan on going on a hunting trip with your kids.

Because video games turn them in maniacal killing machines. Oh and also, it makes them smarter.

BEWARE!

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

Rejoice, people, for games are good again!! Let us enjoy our purchased products before another study "discovers" the bad in video games.

grizzlybear191
grizzlybear191

There were all sorts of ridiculous studies in the past showing how smoking helps people with anxiety.  Being a gamer does not make people better or worse, it just makes them a gamer.


The human race is losing IQ points every day.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

Just not listening to any studies on this topic any more.  There's way too many variables that are just ignored on every study, regardless of conclusion.

I mean this study doesn't even try to factor in how the number of hours of video games played per week by children in this age group is dictated directly by parents and how then is determined by what kind of parents they have.

Children who don't play video games at all are probably either from poor families, or have very strict parents which we already know correlates to less emotionally stable children.  Children who do some light gaming probably have parents who like to let their kids have a little fun now and again and are part of a healthy dynamic within the household, or... are just girls, which, again, as we know, are more sympathetic and less aggressive.  Children younger than 15 who play video games excessively at home probably just don't have very good parents and well... you get the idea.

I mean, it's like they're just churning these things out to meet their annual study quota and qualify for next year's research grant.  As a piece of science, it's a joke.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

@naryanrobinson Correlation =/= Causation.


I agree with you here. The main problem I have is that so few (if any) of the studies I've seen on people gaming rely too heavily on correlation. Even this study only used 2 self reported measures. I think the main issue we have though is that pop psychology gets sensationalized by the layman and what researchers actually found is almost a second thought.

Barighm
Barighm

Meanwhile, there are companies saying they like hardcore WoW raiders because they know how to work as a team and I guarantee you those people play more than an hour a day. 

Dumb study is dumb.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

But what if they're playing violent video games???

futureops
futureops

@Thanatos2k No matter how violent the game is, it doesnt affect me, I am anti social. Video games keep me happy :)


BTW I am 14 ATM, started gaming at the age of 8. I play from games like COD, GTA to Borderlands and Destiny.

warriors30
warriors30

@futureops @Thanatos2k Were you anti social before you started playing video games? Just wondering.

futureops
futureops

@warriors30 I still am anti social, that is why I use these sites to talk to a few gamers because I can't in real life.

mattcake
mattcake

The 2 on the sofa can't see the TV and are basically cheering the back of that woman's head. Must be a dull household.

The_Gaming_Baby
The_Gaming_Baby

Surely if they can afford such a lovely and spacious home then they can afford branded clothes. Also, that might be an urn on the table

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

@pongley @The_Gaming_Baby That is the lying commercial for Nintendo Wii, where everyone has fun, families are so perfect and the homes are spotless.

If they came to my house then it would be slouching on sofas, beer in the hand, game control in the other and using the Wii-Fit as a footstool. Meanwhile the rest of my family are fighting over who gets to play the game next as I smirk to myself, knowing damn well none of them are getting a go.

Now that's realism, not that Sandra Bullocks up there!

Tigerbite2
Tigerbite2

The act of playing of said video games has not affected my physical or social life at all.


However, it has made me live what seems like a very unproductive life.  When I have the choice to sit in my comfy house, in my comfy chair, and play a game versus going outside and doing yard work, of course I always pick playing video games!


(FYI, my yard work only gets done when the power goes out.)  BWAHHAHA.  WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE!

freedom01
freedom01 moderator moderator

might want tell that to the parents of the kids who play CoD

freedom01
freedom01 moderator moderator

@dominoodle @freedom01 they need less than an hr of CoD Online to have problems

dominoodle
dominoodle

@freedom01 Those kids are playing for 6+ hours though. They get home from school and play CoD till bed time.

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

"When children started playing one to three hours per day, the positive effects fell away." I think this means you shouldn't play 1 hour per day...

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

Oh dear, here we go again.


Dang, g*station, church, academic study all before lunch.  You guys trying to crash your own site?

spartanx169x
spartanx169x

@olddadgamer @spartanx169x  Nope, Already have my popcorn. I'm just observing from the sidelines. tired of trying to teach these kids about life in the real world. 

punksterdaddy
punksterdaddy

@spartanx169x @olddadgamer

WHAT!?

Tom and Carolyn are gone? That's news to me, when did this happen?

Is this also why I no longer see Johnny Chiodini (Johnneh), and all the other UK personalities that once dominated most of the shows on this site?

Sorry that is a lot of questions, I know. Any answers would be nice though. :)

eva02langley
eva02langley

Well, I learned english by playing video games. My native language is french and now I have a career in english... so it definitely helped me to succeed in life.

woodyfr
woodyfr

@eva02langley I learned English by reading Gamespot's comments and playing Monkey Island.