Could video games improve your child’s brain? Researchers say yes

Parents frequently worry about the negative effects of video games on their kids, including exercise deprivation, social problems, and mental health issues.

Although some parents worry that video games could be bad for their kids’ health, a recent study supported by the National Institutes of Health reveals that gaming may aid in both cognitive and impulse control.

The research was released on Monday in the journal JAMA Network Open.

Similar results from other studies have been found, however this study has the greatest sample size of kids to date.

In comparison to kids who didn’t play any video games at all, it was discovered that children who played video games for three or more hours a day performed better on tasks involving memory and impulse control. Additionally, the brain regions related to attention and working memory were more active in the gamers.

The researchers point out that they were unable to establish proof of a direct causal link between video games and cognitive advancements.

The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, which is tracking over 12,000 kids, provided data on roughly 2,000 9 and 10-year-olds.

The children in the latest study were split into two groups: those who played video games for more than three hours each day, and those who never did. While undergoing brain imaging, each group completed two tests that evaluated short-term memory and impulse control. 

“This study adds to our growing understanding of the associations between playing video games and brain development,” said NIDA Director Dr Nora Volkow.

“Numerous studies have linked video gaming to behaviour and mental health problems. This study suggests that there may also be cognitive benefits associated with this popular pastime, which are worthy of further investigation.”

Researchers observed that while the survey did not differentiate between the many video game genres played, most children tended to favour faster-paced shooter and action adventure games over slower-paced logic games like puzzles.

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