Parents often feel guilty when they let their kids play video games, worried that this is a factor in their children’s intelligence. But that debate has raged for years. New research has investigated whether or not playing video games actually makes kids less intelligent. Researchers from the Swedish Karolinska Institute studied more than 5,000 kids from the US, testing their general cognitive skills. Researchers then followed up with the children two years later to assess how the effects had changed their IQ.
The results of the study suggest that video gamers’ IQ scores decline slightly, while their long-term memory improves. This study did not examine other factors like parental upbringing, and it is impossible to conclude whether video games improve a child’s IQ. However, the results aren’t the same for children who watch TV or play online videos. Researchers also didn’t examine mental health, sleep quality, or exercise levels.
The researchers also looked into whether violent video games make kids violent. In particular, they found a strong association between violent video games and aggressive behaviors. This may be because violent video games can desensitize kids, making them less sensitive to violence and more likely to commit violent acts. Additionally, kids who play violent video games may have trouble focusing in class or attending lectures. In addition, children who play violent games often have attention, focus, and anger issues.
The researchers also found that excessive video gaming may increase the likelihood of aggressive behavior in children. While the effects of excessive gaming are not yet fully understood, the research suggests that violent games may be an important factor in aggressive thinking. Children who play violent video games may be rewarded for aggressive thinking, and this may lead to aggressive behavior later on in life. They may also experience lower IQ.
Despite these findings, the researchers caution that genetic factors may obscure the true impact of screen time on children’s intelligence. Certain genes may lead children to watch TV more than other kids, and those children may have difficulty learning independently. Genetic lottery is an important confounding factor in any psychological process. Unfortunately, it is difficult to account for genetic factors in scientific studies. Moreover, genetic analysis is expensive, and technological limitations can also limit how far researchers can go in investigating the effects of playing video games.
The World Health Organization has classified excessive screen time on children as an official mental disorder. It recommends that parents monitor the amount of time their children spend on these activities. Increasing screen time can also cause social isolation, poor grades, and loss of interest in previously important activities. Even news reports link video games to bullying and zombies. Even though the effects of playing video games are still unknown, parents should take precautions to keep their kids entertained and educated.
According to the study, children who play “shooter” video games spend less gray matter in their brain than those who played a control group. The researchers said that this underdevelopment is associated with a lack of ability to learn, remember, and experience emotions. Furthermore, the researchers warned that certain motion-based video games can result in motion sickness, which causes dizziness, and could affect cognitive function in the future.
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