UK Study: Video Games Have No Negative Impact On Children

UK Study: Video Games Have No Negative Impact On Children

At the University of Glasgow, researchers studied the results of video games on over 11,000 children, some as young as five years old, to measure whether or not video games could affect their behaviour. The results are in: video games have no impact on the behaviour of children.

The masive sample size involved has convinced The University of Glasgow of the veracity of its research. 11,000 cases. That’s a pretty large number.

The findings were clear — whilst a statistically small connection between extensive TV watching and behavioural issues were found, there was absolutely no connection between video games and behavioural issues. Other findings were equally interesting: there were zero differences between boys and girls in the survey results.

At the beginning of the study researches did wonder whether or not video games would have a stronger impact on behavioural issues, as a result of their interactivity, particularly with regard to the constant reinforcement loops seen in most games, but the opposite seemed to be the case.

You can read the study in its entirety here.

Game Play Has No Negative Impact on Kids, UK Study Finds [Games And Learning]


    • Fixed the title for you Mark…
      UK researchers find jack squat and publish data in scientific journal

  • I can see the headlines now: “Gaming has…Negative Impact on Children”, followed by an article/broadcast segment that, to us, clearly hasn’t been researched properly/at all.

    • Here is the article…

      Typically in these sorts of studies, you hypothesize that there will be a difference. Hypothesising a null difference (i.e. no difference between conditions) is bad. Also, they used subjective measures (mothers rating of their childs strengths and difficulties). One would have thought that mothers like to present their children in a positive light (i.e. not violent, having good relationships, not inattentive or hyperactive etc etc). Should have used more than one rater/questionaire for greater reliability. That is potentially a massive methodological flaw. Much better to use objective measures like behavioural studies or neuroimaging.

      That said, it is an interesting correlational longitudinal study with an impressive sample. WIll be good to see what happens later down the track to look at causal/mediating relationships.

      • It’s worth pointing out that is a secondary analysis of existing data. The authors don’t get to pick them methods that are used, they are at the mercy of the people designing the study. Big longitudinal studies like this one are usually done with a dozen primary aims, and in order not to burden the participants too much they have to rely on self-report measures.

        You’re right about the mothers reporting both the behaviour and the TV/video game use is a form of bias, but I disagree that it’s a problem. If there was a bias, it’s likely that parents would report that their children were nicer, and that they watch less TV. That would shift the bias in the same direction, which makes it much less of an issue.

        I can’t see where they stated that they hypothesised no difference, but when you apply statistics you have to assume the null hypothesis unless you can prove otherwise.

        • Fair call. I just skimmed the abstract and assumed it was original research. my bad. That makes a lot more sense about why they did what they did. That said, I am still picking at it because I’ve read a stack of these sorts of articles (and too many that were poorly designed). Yeah, they probably have to do a lot of different questionnaires. Even so, people who designed the original study could have done a better job 🙂

          Fair point about the bias. My main issue was that it was only the mothers (and not for example both the mothers and fathers or independent raters). That it was *only* the mothers means that any form of systematic bias in their responses could introduce problems into the data (whether towards or away from a relationship between video games/tv and behaviour). I was thinking that mothers could be more likely to say that, “my kid isnt affected my tv/video games” and tend to report behaviour in a better light and tv/video games more realistically. Of course this may be totally wrong, but my point was that it could happen. As you say, there may not be any bias as all and that it could go in the other direction.

          I didnt read their hypothesis either (at the end of the intro) but researchers do indeed assume a null hypothesis unless you prove otherwise. So, the finding of there not being any difference (i.e. the null hypothesis) could just be due to researchers being lazy/using poor measures or methodological flaws. Not saying that is wholly the case here (just in part), but in such a case when you do find the null hypothesis, it’s not all that surprising or impressive. With more rigorous experimental design (better control, more measures etc), finding the null hypothesis would be more interesting.

    • Maybe. As for me I tend to get more of a kick out of the PC ones where you have a bunch of students with the token kids mixed in there.

  • So playing Mario doesn’t make kids want to jump on turtles heads or collect little gold coins?
    That’s great! :o)

  • I still think we should pump millions of tax payer dollars into searching for a link between gaming and violence. Y’know, it’s only money.

  • Now the detractors will probably demand the survey group be re-tested every year until they die to ‘prove’ the result wasn’t an aberration.

  • But it wasn’t done in our country or the US! Who knows what those Brits could be tricking us into believing!!!

  • The study doesn’t even say what videos games they were playing. For all we know it could have been G rated games. I still think if kids play excessively sexualised and violent video games, there are going to be negative effects. At least the study highlighted the need for more detailed data and content of media consumed to be correlated with results.

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