While parents might be concerned about the cognitive effects of letting children play video games, a study conducted by researchers at multiple universities indicated that video game play had little to no impact on children’s cognitive ability.
Researchers from the University of Houston, Illinois State University and University of Wisconsin were involved in the study.
“Our studies turned up no such links, regardless of how long the children played and what types of games they chose,” Jie Zhang, associate professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Houston College of Education, said in a press release.
The researchers followed 160 pre-teen children throughout the U.S. Nearly 70 percent of the children lived in low-income households. The average amount of play among the children was 2.5 hours a day, with some kids averaging up to 4.5 hours of daily video game play.
The study also found that video games that were marketed for having a positive impact on children’s cognitive ability did not affect children.
To determine their ability, researchers used the Cognitive Ability Test 7, known as CogAT, which evaluates verbal, quantitative and nonverbal/spatial skills, the University of Houston said.
“The study results show parents probably don’t have to worry so much about cognitive setbacks among video game-loving children, up to fifth grade. Reasonable amounts of video gaming should be OK, which will be delightful news for the kids. Just keep an eye out for obsessive behavior,” said Zhang. “When it comes to video games, finding common ground between parents and young kids is tricky enough. At least now we understand that finding balance in childhood development is the key, and there’s no need for us to over-worry about video gaming.”
While video games might not have much impact on cognitive ability,experts say it is still important to have too much time being sedentary.
There are also concerns about the effects of video game addiction, according to Harvard University.