Video games good for kids in limited doses


When they say scientists, they mean social scientists who won’t repeat their results, right?


What we can take away from years of unnecessary and contradictory studies is that video games possibly affect kids in some way…maybe

1 Like

Sigh, correlation/causation again. Maybe well adjusted kids from well adjusted families like to play video games some, but not obsessively? Maybe miserable kids play lots of video games as a distraction? Maybe mistreated kids are miserable because they aren’t allowed to do a whole bunch of things, including play video games? Maybe adjustment or the lack of it is the cause of how many hours you do or don’t play games, rather than vice versa?


Wait, no, video games are bad. Otherwise, what can we blame for all of America’s gun violence? Well at least there’s still Marilyn Manson, and maybe comic books.

1 Like

Is there still Marilyn Manson?

But also, video games are changing so rapidly, in tone, level of immersion, and becoming so diverse that any discussion of some kind of monolithic thing called “video games” is so silly. We won’t even begin to have all the intervening variable sorted out before true VR hits, and then what. no really, what? How can shitty reality compete with a designed environment? Our kids (my kids, when they arrive…) will probably have their first jobs out of cyber college as bouncer/moderators outside the stargate to a virtual cyborg-furry party…


Those awful penny dreadfuls, allowing women to vote, and the question mark.

1 Like

C’mon, BoingBoing, you’re usually better at science than to parrot headlines mixing up correlation with causation.

I spent my childhood indoors playing video games because I was unhappy, not the other way around. That’s only one data point and purely anecdotal, but there’s at least the POSSIBILITY that other kids feel the same, right?

And using kids who don’t play video games at all as a control no longer makes any sense. In what possible condition would a child, growing up in the 21st century, choose not to play video games at all? I can’t think of one where it’s the child’s choice, but I can think of plenty of potential external factors (poverty, epilepsy, parents with an irrational hatred of video games) which would also, presumably, affect the child’s general satisfaction with life.

I mean, by all means kids should be playing outside and getting exercise, and moderating their gaming. But not playing games at all strikes me as highly unusual in the developed world.

1 Like

Amen! My 4-yo. daughter has been doing watercolor painting for over an hour now. Time to cut her off for today!



So we’ll still have Second Life then?

1 Like

Second Life’s no game, son. Some people take their diaperfur conventions very seriously.


In the interests of productive discussion vs reacting-to-headlines-from-sources-with-horrible-science-reporting, here’s the link to the actual paper, which is, through some miracle, available to download for free: Electronic Gaming and Psychosocial Adjustment

Notably, from the conclusions:

“The links between different levels of electronic game engagement and psychosocial adjustment were small (<1.6% of variance) yet statistically significant”

I don’t have the background to be able to call bullshit (it sounds like a small number to me) but I’d be very interested to compare this to other popular activities like reading, listening to music, watching television…

It’s good to see this research happening. I’m very fond of video games but not so fond of the industry that peddles them. As it is, most of the sociological research on games happens at large game publishers, in the interest of making them more addictive and their marketing more effective.

A lot of the folks commenting here don’t appear to have actually read the BBC article. Overall, the study author’s conclusion seems to be a fairly balanced assessment based on the data they collected.

Dr Przybylski [the lead researcher on the study] points out that though the effect of video games on children is statistically significant in this study, factors such as the
strength of family relationships play a larger role.

“Scientists found young people who spent less than an hour a day engaged in video games were better adjusted than those who did not play at all. But children who used consoles for more than three hours reported lower satisfaction with their lives overall.”

Let’s try that again:

Scientists found that well adjusted young people enjoyed a variety of activities but children who had low satisfaction with their lives were more likely to attempt to escape them through video games or other methods.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.