It’s a common parental refrain: stop playing those gosh durn vidja games and hit the books. But according to a study by Dr Aaron Drummond of Flinders University, increased video game play had little to no affect on academic results and the attention span of students.
Data from 192,000 students across 22 different countries was analysed during the course of this study and, despite a small to negligible decrease in reading scores, there was no correlation between time spent with video games and academic results.
“Essentially it was not a large enough decline to be considered a problem,” said Dr Aaron Drummond.
The results seemed to go against the popular view that video games have a negative impact on attention span and the ability to retain information. But assumptions like this were the reason why Drummond decided to undertake a more definitive study on the impact of video games.
“There hadn’t been any comprehensive examination on whether or not there was a relationship between playing video games for adolescents and their performance at school,” he explained.
“There seemed to be a lot of negative associations, but not enough evidence.”
Drummond used information gathered from the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment, a study which collected multiple different types of information regarding the performance of students. That assessment also collected information on the students’ use of video games: the frequency of play, whether the play was multiplayer or single player.