Want to raise smarter kids? Let them play video games.

Your financial action plan for 2023 in the midst of a potential recession
Written by admin

According to a study published last week in JAMA Network Open, playing video games does not rot children’s brains, but enriches them.

A team of researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont assessed the brain function of thousands of children aged 9 or 10, comparing a sample of subjects who played zero hours of video games per week with a sample who played 21 hours a week.

In a series of cognitive tests (administered with an fMRI scan), child gamers displayed “better cognitive performance involving response inhibition and working memory as well as impaired BOLD signaling in key regions of the cortex responsible for visual processing, attention and memory.

What the hell does that mean? Well, compared to their peers, the little Xbox wizards seem to have advanced mastery of memory and impulse control. And since the research tested all sorts of other variables – gender, household income, etc. – their video game habit is probably the reason.

Note that the authors also looked specifically for children with a fairly extensive habit of video games; the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents only let their children play video games for one hour on school days and two hours on non-school days. Add it up, and that’s nine hours a week, well below the 21 hours these fourth and fifth graders regularly enroll.

And yet, the kids are fine – and seem to be onto something. As this study concludes, “…the findings raise the intriguing possibility that video gaming may provide a cognitive training experience with measurable neurocognitive effects.” This concept builds on previous research in the field, which established that the “perceptual and attentional demands” of gameplay can improve a child’s “reaction time, creativity, problem solving, and logic.”

Of course, most parents would be reluctant to prescribe more video games for their children. Previous surveys indicate that an overwhelming majority believe their children play excessive video games, while others lean towards the oft-repeated point that gaming increases violence in society (despite a mountain research to the contrary).

How to play

The authors acknowledge these concerns in their study and in fact tested “possible adverse mental health and behavioral effects.” They found no significant difference in scores for this criterion between gamers and non-gamers…although they admit that all of the children tested are young and their scores may have more clinical significance as they get older. age.

As they get older, however, players may well have more “cognitive flexibility” to tap into – which could provide them with deep perspective and problem-solving acumen for real-life situations. From a parent’s perspective, it can be helpful to keep an open mind and work to avoid demonizing video games. Instead, think of them as another opportunity for your child’s brain to grow.

If there’s one thing to keep in mind here, it’s that the American sedentary lifestyle is starting earlier and earlier. The obesity epidemic has reached elementary schools, youth sports are down nationwide, kids are already spending a ton of screen time, and more. We understood. When encouraging video games, try to do so in a balanced daily setting that allows for activities where your child is around other people, outside of school, and on the go.

If you’re really struggling to see the merit in games, try playing with them. I remember playing Crash Bandicoot with my father in the 90s and the Lord of the Rings with my brother in the years; I still play Mario Kart Wii with my sister today.

As I wrote last June:[Gaming engenders] a bizarre, bubble-wrapped state of flow, where every task seems hugely important, but you’re simultaneously aware, somewhere below the surface, that there’s nothing on screen to be too pleased or upset about. In other words, it’s a form of gambling.” I stand by those words. The game is fun, worthy of your time, and seemingly dynamite for neuroplasticity. Let the children play! And see if they’ll let you join them once in a while.

#raise #smarter #kids #play #video #games

About the author


Leave a Comment