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Oxford University Report: Kids who play video games for an hour a day are happier

[Update-This article original claimed Dr Przybylski's paper was published in the "Journal of Paediatrics." The paper was infact published in the medical journal called "PEDIATRICS". The article has been updated accordingly.]

New research from Oxford University seems to confirm what us gamers have known all along: Video games are good for you. But just a little bit. According to the study, kids that play video games for an hour or so per day are generally happier, tend to be more sociable and exhibit less hyperactivity than kids who don’t game.


The Good, the Bad, the Middling

The study, which surveyed 5,000 British children aged 10 to 15, was carried out by experimental psychologist, Dr Andrew Przybylski, who published the findings in the journal of Pediatrics, which is the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics..

According to the findings contained in the study Dr Przybylski concluded that children who engaged in a little video game-playing were better adjusted than those that never played and those who played for three hours or more.

The grouping that engaged in an hour or less of gaming a day were most likely to feel satisfied with their lives. They “also appeared to have fewer friendship and emotional problems and reported less hyperactivity than the other groups,” according to Dr Przybylski.

Those that engaged in one to three hours of gaming a day appeared to be unaffected, while those that played for periods exceeding three hours a day showed signs of being the least well-adjusted group. With that said, the Doctor believes that whatever negative effects there are, are negligible. 

Minimal Impact

In fact, the research seems to suggest that the overall influence of video games on children and teens, both positive or negative, has a much smaller impact on their lives than other factors, for instance the state of these children’s home, the quality of their relationships at school, and whether or not they are materially deprived.

“These results support recent laboratory-based experiments that have identified the downsides to playing electronic games,” Dr. Przybylski said in a statement. “However, high levels of video game-playing appear to be only weakly linked to children’s behavioral problems in the real world.”

“Likewise, the small, positive effects we observed for low levels of play on electronic games do not support the idea that video games on their own can help children develop in an increasingly digital world,” he added. “Some of the positive effects identified in past gaming research were mirrored in these data but the effects were quite small.”

Ultimately what this research suggests is that video games aren't that much of an influencing force in children's lives, both from a positive and negative perspective.

“In a research environment that is often polarized between those who believe games have an extremely beneficial role and those who link them to violent acts, this research could provide a new, more nuanced standpoint,” Dr. Przybylski told BBC News.

Sources: The Telegraph, BBC

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