Video games often get a bad rap—some believe they cause violent behavior, and others say they're just plain addictive. Now, a new study further supports the notion that parents should monitor the amount of their child's gaming screen-time.
Researchers from the University of Oxford concluded that a child's behavior is influenced more by the time spent playing video games rather than the games' actual content.
Children (boys and girls) between the ages of 12 and 13 reported how often they played games per day and the type of game they preferred. To assess each child's behavior, teachers were also asked to report on the kids' social attitude and academic performance.
The results, published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, revealed no link between violent video games and aggressive behavior or poor academic performance. But kids who played video games for three or more hours were prone to misbehavior and hyperactivity. As for kids who played video games for under an hour a day, they were actually linked with positive characteristics.
"Children who played video games with a cooperative and competitive element had significantly fewer emotional problems or problems with peers," reports PsychCentral. "Children who chose to play solitary games were found to do well academically and displayed fewer emotional problems or got involved in fights."
It's important to note that video game use will not make or break your child, but it's essential that your child balances activities and schoolwork. According to lead author Andrew Przybylski, Ph.D., "a range of other factors in a child's life will influence their behavior more, as this research suggests that playing electronic games may be a statistically significant but minor factor in how children progress academically or in their emotional well-being."
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She's a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew.
Image: Kids playing video games via Shutterstock