Children who spend time playing video games have higher IQs


The study was conducted in Sweden (Image: Getty Images)

Children who spend more time playing video games may experience greater gains in intelligence as they get older, according to a new study.

But watching TV and scrolling through social media don’t have the same effect, they say.

Parents often raise concerns that screen time has a negative impact on children’s mental and physical health.

However, experts in Sweden found that some activities involving screens can be beneficial.

In the United States, 9,000 boys and girls between the ages of nine and 10 underwent psychological tests to measure their mental abilities.

Children and their parents were also asked how much time children spend watching TV, playing games and using social media.

Five thousand participants were asked to take the same tests two years later to measure their psychological abilities.

The educational background and income of the parents as well as genetic differences were also taken into account.


The study favors kids playing video games over scrolling through social media (Picture: Getty Images)

The children involved spent an average of two and a half hours watching TV, half an hour on social media and an hour playing video games.

Those who played more games increased their intelligence by about 2.5 IQ points more than average, the researchers found.

No positive or negative effects from watching television or spending time on social media were observed.

Their findings support recent research showing that intelligence is not constant but is influenced by environmental factors.

Author Professor Torkel Klingberg from Karolinska Institutet (corr) said: “We have not examined the effects of screen behavior on physical activity, sleep, well-being or academic performance, so we cannot comment on this.

“But our findings support the claim that screen time does not generally impair children’s cognitive abilities and that playing video games may actually help increase intelligence.”

“This is consistent with several experimental studies of video game play.

“We will now examine the effects of other environmental factors and how the cognitive effects relate to the development of the child’s brain.”

The results were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Justin Scacco

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