Playing a small amount of video games daily may ‘level up’ adjustment in children

BY Justin Scuiletti  August 4, 2014 at 3:47 PM EST
A bit of gaming each day may keep some negative effects in children away. Photo by Flickr user Rodrigo Della Fávera

A bit of gaming each day may keep some negative effects in children away. Photo by Flickr user Rodrigo Della Fávera

Parents take note: letting your children finish that one last video game level before they start their homework may have its benefits.

According to a new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, children of ages 10 to 15 who play a small amount of video games each day show slightly higher indicators of psychosocial adjustment than kids who play no video games at all. The children who played an hour or less each day were found to possess higher levels of “life satisfaction” and “prosocial behavior,” in addition to lower levels of “externalizing and internalizing problems.”

However, researchers don’t recommend letting kids be glued to their gaming either. The study found that children who consistently played games for more than three hours daily were linked to the opposite effects and were considered less adjusted than those who gamed a little or not at all.

The study, however, reminds readers that while the findings are consistent and significant, the changes on both spectrums are small. The “broad fears and hopes about gaming may be exaggerated,” the researchers write, though they hope the study will provide “a new standpoint for parents and policymakers to understand electronic play.”