Shocking Study Finds Video Games Interfere With Schoolwork

Direct from the We Could Have Told You That department, a recent study determined that introducing young boys to video games has a direct effect on their academic performance. Introducing a major distraction interferes with learning? Who'd have thought?

The study conducted by Robert Weis, a psychologist at Ohio's Denison University, is the first controlled trial to look at the effect of playing video games on learning. While previous studies have reported on the effects of video games on academic performance using survey data of children's gaming habits, this one goes about things slightly differently.

The researchers found 64 boys aged six through nine who had never owned a video game system, which sounds like a science award-winning feat if I've ever heard one.

The study was presented (quite brilliantly) to parents as one monitoring child development, with a PlayStation 2 offered as a reward for participating. Half of the 64 children participating received the game system at the onset of the study, while the other half - the control group - received it at the end of the four-month program.

Needless to say, the children who suddenly found themselves in possession of video game entertainment spent more time playing games and less time studying and participating in extracurricular activities.

This makes perfect sense, for as Weis points out, the time spent playing video games replaces the time spent doing other things.

Teachers reported delays in learning academic skills among the game-playing children, while tests conducted by the researchers showed less academic advancement overall when compared to the control group. While the results were almost predetermined, it is interesting to see the correlation at work.

So kudos to Weis and his team, for not only providing such enlightening results, but also for conducting an unbiased study that didn't set out to vilify our hobby.

"There's nothing evil about video games per se," said Weis, "It's just that we need to monitor kids' usage of these games and to urge moderation in the amount that kids play these games."

Note that girls were not included in the study, as researchers were worried they would not play video games as much as the boys. I suggest a new study is in order.

Video Games May Hinder Learning for Boys [LiveScience via Digg]


    Ok, i'm now an adult, but at one time i was a child who was introduced to videogames. My father liked the idea that i was so into something to the point that i would willingly buy game magazines and read them and even the mass amounts of text in games like the Final Fantasy series thus practicing english skills.

    The point is that he moinitored the games i played, when i played and so on. He let me play only on fridays and saturdays after school during the evenings. On week days i could only play games provided i finished my homework earlier in the day (he would check)and provided it was befor bedtime. He would examine the ratings classifications of the game and witness the game for himself before alowing me to play them or not. If i was playing videogames on school holidays too much (i mean 7hrs a day) then he would restrict me from playing too much and then encourage me to play outside, a type of negotiation took place. This taught me to regulate how much videogames i should play and when i should play even to this day.

    The problem is that most parents couldn't give a f**k about monitoring their kids. Its apparently too hard or it should be someone else problems. For those parents that work late, negotiate make a plan, it's not that hard to monitor kids and their games. Hell ban kids if you have too, but don't whine about it and expect someone else to fix it.

      This is just my experence, not a rant.

      Also any gamer could have told these egg heads this. Come on, it's not rocket science.

        Your dad is awesome! and more parents should be like that!

          Thanks for that.

    The study is important, they have controlled experiment and it shows some differences.

    read it like that take what they say "use in moderation" and its great

    Policy makers need studies with data to do anything.

    *Gasp*, next thing you know, they'll discover that we need oxygen to live!

    That tears it! I'm becoming an academic. I have a proposal for a study of what happens when you introduce a keg of beer into the tertiary learning environment.

    No shit, i mean who doesnt know that?

    The same applies to everything though. For example watching TV, going out, playing sport. The more things you do, the less time you will have for your homework and studies. The less time spent on studies and homework, usually means your academic skills would drop.

    And also, I find this study to be very unspecific. Not all children who play games get have bad academic skills. There are many other factors, such as how much is played and when theyre played. Basically it comes down to responsibility and priority. If the child does not accept responsibility and does not set their priorities, the parents must step in and do the job they are meant to do.

    Im currently in year 10, and I spend heaps of hours playing games. However my grades are always high, I always get my homework done and they have no effect on my academic skills what so ever.

    I have a 3 year old and he loves playing the XBox; I limit his time on it as much as I limit his time watching TV - its no different. You cant just leave your children to veg out infront of the TV or games console; they will get bored and restless and thats where the problems start. Games like Lego: Indiana Jones 2 are fantastic for parents to play with their children, it's great fun and theres lots of problem solving. As he gets older, gaming will be used as reward scheme; its my duty as a parent to enforce rules and reward good behaviour. I think a lot of the problems with children boil down to failed parenting, not computer games, tv , sex or violence. Its human nature to not accept responsiblilty and look for something or someone else to blame; but if your kid is a failure, its because you, as a parent, have failed.

    over 60% of Aus are 'Gamers' now, casual or not.

    Congratulations idoits.

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