HealthDay News — A small study offers a mixed view on whether video games may make kids more aggressive.
Those children who spend more time playing games might be slightly likelier to be hyperactive and to get into fights. But violent video games seem to have no effect on behavior, according to British researchers.
The researchers also said they discovered that kids who played video games for less than an hour a day were more likely to be less aggressive and rated as better-behaved by their teachers.
And even if spending a lot of time playing video games every day may alter the way kids act in everyday life, “all observed behaviors were very small in magnitude, suggesting only a minor relationship at best and that games do not have as large an impact as some parents and practitioners worry,” said study author Andrew Przybylski, PhD, an experimental psychologist at the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University.
In the study, published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, researchers looked at 217 teens, 110 males and 107 females, and examined both their video game-playing habits and their personalities as judged by their teachers.
A bit more than half of the girls had never played video games, compared to just 13% of the boys. Sixteen percent of the boys played video games more than three hours a day, compared to 3% of the girls.
The researchers found that the 22 kids who played video games the most each day were the likeliest to have behavioral problems, exhibit hyperactivity and have trouble academically, although the effects were “quite small in magnitude,” Przybylski said. He added that there’s no way to know whether kids are drawn to video games because of their personalities, or whether video games alter their personalities.
The kinds of video games that the kids played appeared to have no effect after the researchers adjusted their statistics so factors such as gender wouldn’t have an effect.
Przyblski AK and Mishkin AF. How the Quantity and Quality of Electronic Gaming Relates to Adolescents’ Academic Engagement and Psychosocial Adjustment. Psychol Pop Media Cult. 2015; doi: 10.1037/ppm0000070.