11,000-Kid Study Finds That Video Games Aren't That Bad After AllS

Any time a high-profile act of violence happens, some media pundits are quick to blame video games for influencing the perpetrators' actions. But results of a UK study says that such a link may not exist.

Recent research from the University of Glasgow —aiming to chart just how consumption of video games and television changes the behaviors of young children—has found that a steady diet of video games doesn't result in significantly altered behavior. The University of Glasgow paper pulled data from Great Britain's massive, ten-year Millennium Cohort Study and looked at how "conduct problems, emotional symptoms, peer relationship problems, hyperactivity/inattention and prosocial behaviour" were changed with regard to how much television or video games a child engaged with.

TV is generally thought of as more harmless than video games when it comes to the emotional health of kids but the Glasgow study found that "watching TV for 3 h or more daily at 5 years predicted increasing conduct problems between the ages of 5 years and 7 years." No corollary effect was found with video games, likely because parents are more likely to monitor or regulate video game screen time than TV screen time.

As with any study, there are caveats. This isn't a be-all, end-all set of findings. The authors themselves say that "the study highlights the need for more detailed data to explore risks of various forms of screen time, including exposure to screen violence." Nevertheless, given the breadth of data drawn from 10 years and more than 10,000 participants, this could be an important cornerstone for future research and conversations about how video games do—or do not—affect behavior.

[Games and Learning, via Twitter]

[above image via Shutterstock]