Video game hurts schoolwork of boys--study
Researchers are trying to tell parents something about what kinds of video games chidlren should be playing and how much time they should spend doing it.
A new study concludes what you’ve already suspected: Young boys who play video games do worse on tests than children who don’t.
Researchers who followed 64 boys from the ages of 6 to 9 for four months discovered that those who received a new PlayStation II gaming system earned lower reading and writing test scores than children who did not get the video game player.
This comes on the heels of another recently reported study about video games, which concluded that kids who play violent video games become more aggressive and less caring--regardless of age, sex or culture--than young people who don’t play these games.
The study on the effects of video games on schoolwork was conducted by Denison University Associate Professor Robert Weis and Brittany Cerankosky, who graduated from Denison in 2008. It is called “Effects of Video-Game Ownership on Young Boys’ Academic and Behavioral Functioning,” and will be published in Psychological Science.
Boys who received the system also showed greater teacher-reported academic problems at follow-up than children in the comparison group.
The researchers followed 64 young boys over four months. Parents of the 64 were promised a PlayStation II gaming system in exchange for their participation, plus three E rated games. But half the families were given the video gaming system immediately and half were promised it after four months.
The children underwent a battery of tests before and after the four months and parents and teachers answered questions about how the boys behaved in school and at home.
*Boys who were the first to get the PlayStations spent more time playing video games than the boys who didn’t get it immediately--39.3 minutes versus 9.3 minutes. (The boys who didn’t get the gaming system right away played at a friend’s house).
*Boys who were given the PlayStations right away spent 18.2 minutes a day in after-school academic activities versus 31.6 minutes for the kids who weren't.
*The boys who had the videogames immediately achieved lower reading and writing test scores than those who didn’t. But the PlayStations seemed to have no effect on the boys’ math and problem solving skills.
Cerankosky said in a statement on the Denison University Web site that there isn’t “necessarily something inherent in video games that negatively affects kids.
“It’s an activity that detracts from time that could be spent on schoolwork,” she said.
If you are wondering why we needed a study to tell us that, the researchers say that conventional wisdom is not always accurate, and it is important to prove such beliefs through experimentation.
The previously reported study linking violent video games to violent behavior among gamers was done by psychologist Craig Anderson, director of Iowa State University’s Center for the Study of Violence.
It was a metastudy that looked at 130 research reports on more than 130,000 subjects around the world on the same topic. It is published in the March issue of the Psychological Bulletin, an American Psychological Association journal.
Anderson and his team of researchers concluded that exposure to violent video games directly causes increased aggressive thoughts and behavior, and decreased empathy and pro-social behavior in the youths exposed to them. The results held true across countries, cultures, and study methods.
Anderson said the evidence is now conclusive, and it is time for parents to restrict the gaming activities of their kids.
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| March 18, 2010; 1:07 PM ET
Categories: Health, Research | Tags: video games, violent video games
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