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Video Games Could Actually Be Making Kids Smarter – According To This New Study

A new study by European researchers has shown that playing video games could enhance a child’s smartness.

Today, screen time means socializing with friends on smartphone apps, watching TV, playing video games, and even doing schoolwork on a laptop. This makes screen time valuable and diverse for children.

Before the research, the researchers considered socioeconomic backgrounds and the presence of genes related to intelligence.

“For our study, we created an intelligence index from five tasks: two on reading comprehension and vocabulary, one on attention and executive function (which includes working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control), and one assessing visual-spatial processing (such as rotating objects in your mind), and one on learning ability over multiple trials,” explains Torkel Klingberg and Bruno Sauce, two of the researchers working on the study.

5,000 children were sampled. They were split into three categories: watching, socializing, and gaming.

“While children who played more video games at 10 years were on average no more intelligent than children who didn’t game, they showed the most gains in intelligence after two years, in both boys and girls,” write Klingberg and Sauce. “For example, a child who was in the top 17 percent in terms of hours spent gaming increased their IQ about 2.5 points more than the average child over two years.”

However, this does not mean that this level of screen time has no effect on other important factors such as sleep, school performance, or physical activity.

“But our results support the claim that screen time generally doesn’t impair children’s cognitive abilities and that playing video games can actually help boost intelligence,” added Klingberg. “This is consistent with several experimental studies of video-game playing.”

Also, they did not distinguish the video gamers’ categories from smartphone gaming to first-person shooters on a console. So, it couldn’t be decided which platform was responsible for it.

This, however, does not mean that children should play video games all the time.

“Our results should not be taken as a blanket recommendation for all parents to allow limitless gaming,” conclude Klingberg and Sauce. “But for those parents bothered by their children playing video games, you can now feel better knowing that it’s probably making them a tad smarter.”