Have Parents Been Wrong All Along About Video Games? A study of almost 2000 children has been released suggesting that child gamers who play video games for 3 hours per day or more perform better on cognitive skills tests that involve impulse control and working memory when compared to children who don’t play video games.
More from the study from the National Institutes of Health (nih.gov)
The researchers found that the children who reported playing video games for three or more hours per day were faster and more accurate on both cognitive tasks than those who never played. They also observed that the differences in cognitive function observed between the two groups was accompanied by differences in brain activity.
Have parents been wrong this whole time about video games? I don’t mean wrong recently. I mean wrong for the past 45 years.
We at Oakland County Moms have been writing columns about watching children’s “media allowance“, “screen time” and video games for years and have been implementing restrictions on our own children accordingly. We’ve even had expert psychologists write columns about the dangers of video game addiction.
My son dove head-first into gaming when he was little and we often felt we had to limit his usage, it was like pulling teeth.
I have quite a background with this subject… from all levels. I was a child video game fanatic, I grew into a teen and adult who enjoyed video games, and now I’m a parent of a child (now young adult) that is completely into video games & esports (more on my son later).
As a child, I was a part of the video game revolution in the late 1970s – Atari 2600s, arcades, Chuck E Cheese, Intellivisions…all of it. I was a Day 1, Ground Floor, Ground Zero video game lover.
“Back in the day”, parents RAILED against video games. If your parents were lucky enough to allow you have a video game console, it was heavily restricted to a 13 inch black and white TV in the basement because they thought games would (falsely) ruin the living room TV. Playing Donkey Kong or Pitfall was limited for more than 30 minutes was met with “ok, that enough.. now go outside and play”. Sound familiar? Not much has changed since ’79 if you think about it. In short, parents just don’t understand… then, and according to the study, now.
As a parent, I tried my best to curb my son’s X-Box usage when he was young. By the time he reached the age of 12, he was gaming online with his friends A LOT. He truly loved it and I relaxed the reigns a bit allowing him to play more. I just wasn’t goin to win that war against video games and part of me understood his plight from my own personal experiences with video games as a kid.
Jayson (my son) played HS sports, received excellent grades in school, and never got into trouble. I wasn’t thrilled with him staying home as a high schooler and missing school dances to play video games online, but it was clearly what he wanted to do. Tons of his time spent was playing Fortnite and Rocket League. Playing video games online wasn’t the social life I was expecting of a high school student, but it had its benefits.
Feature Image credit – rocketleague.com
Just recently, Jayson accepted a scholarship offer to play tennis at an NAIA school in Indiana. He’s doing well. Here’s the kicker, he was asked to join his college esports team because of his high ranking on Rocket League. I think the past 2 generations of parents (me included) owe video games an apology.