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Shock study: Kids playing video games over an hour a day are better adjusted

Published Aug 5th, 2014 3:30PM EDT
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Finally good news for parents — a well-constructed research study in a leading pediatric journal finds that children playing 1 to 3 hours of video games a day are more well adjusted than their non-gaming peers. Crucially, the mental health benefits go only to kids who play more than an hour a day. Playing just half an hour is not associated with either positive or negative effects.

Of course, there are lots of studies on video games out there but most of them have been conducted with small sample sizes and published in journals of dubious reputation. This time around, we are talking about a research study published in Pediatrics, a journal with a dazzling impact factor of 5.119, which is the second highest in its medical specialty. To add to this academic glamor, the study was conducted at Oxford University and involved nearly 5,000 subjects. It’s a hefty sample size compared to other behavioral studies on the gaming topic.

Kids surveyed were in the 10-to-15-year age bracket and they were questioned on their overall satisfaction level, hyperactivity, inattention, empathy and ability to connect with their peers. Little video game freaks were the happiest with their lives, had fewer emotional problems and lower levels of hyperactivity. This overall state of relative bliss was achieved specifically by children who played a lot of video games — this is surely the most satisfying element of this important research project.

Now even the most responsible parent has valid, research-backed reasons to encourage their offspring to spend two hours a day on Hearthstone — the emotional wellbeing of their children demands it.

After launching mobile game company SpringToys tragically early in 2000, Tero Kuittinen spent eight years doing equity research at firms including Alliance Capital and Opstock. He is currently an analyst and VP of North American sales at mobile diagnostics and expense management Alekstra, and has contributed to, Forbes and Business 2.0 Magazine in addition to BGR.