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A little electronic gaming may benefit emotional well being of kids

Harold Mandel's picture
Video gaming

There has been a great deal of controversy surrounding the benefits versus the possible risks to mental health of kids who are into playing electronic games. Certainly letting lose and playing is good for kids. There have however been some concerns that playing video games for too long may be detrimental for the emotional well being of kids. New research shows that a little time spent with electronic gaming by kids may be beneficial for their well being.

There has been both concerns and hopes regarding the potential of electronic games

There has been both concerns and hopes regarding the potential of electronic games to influence young people reported the journal Pediatrics. Research has shown both positive and negative effects from electronic gaming but to date there was no research which has examined the balance of these potential effects in kids and adolescents. Researchers for this study investigated how time which is spent playing electronic games accounts for significant variation in positive and negative psychosocial adjustment in children aged 10 to 15 years.

Low engagement in electronic gaming was associated with several positive factors

The researchers observed that low levels of less than 1 hour daily as well as high levels of greater than 3 hours daily of electronic game engagement was associated with key indicators of psychosocial adjustment. Low level engagement in electronic gaming was associated with various positive factors including:

1: Higher life satisfaction

2: Prosocial behavior

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3: Lower externalizing and internalizing problems

The opposite findings were seen with high levels of electronic gaming. There were no effects observed for moderate play levels in comparison with non-players.

It has been concluded the associations between different levels of electronic game engagement and psychosocial adjustment were small and yet they were statistically significant. Electronic games were consistently but not robustly observed to be associated with children’s adjustment in both positive and negative ways.

A little video game-playing is associated with better adjusted children

It therefore appears just a little video game playing is associated with better adjusted children reports the University of Oxford. A new study by Oxford University suggests that video game playing for less than an hour a day is associated with better adjusted children and teenagers. These kids were better adjusted than kids who had never played electronic games or those kids who were on video games for three hours or more daily.

Influence of video games on children is small in comparison to more enduring factors

However, it has been stressed that the influence of video games on children, whether seen as good or bad, is extremely small in comparison to more enduring factors, such as whether or not the child is from a functioning family, their relationships in school, and whether or not they are materially deprived.

In our new digital world it is not surprising that kids are attracted to electronic games. It appears that playing high quality electronic games for a short time daily can spark off a lot of positive functioning in the kids brains. However, I suggest that there be attempts to offer a child a balanced life with electronic games just being a small part of the kids life.

In a world where material advantages are vital for a kid to compete effectively it would certainly not be a good idea to deprive kids of electronic games for a short time daily. However, parents should continue to nurture warm relations with their kids. It could turn out to be a tragic mistake to allow electronics to fully take over a kids emotional development. Emotional support from those closest to them remains as always very important for kids.