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Playing video games for up to an hour a day 'is good for children'

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Baku, April 6, AZERTAC

Children who play computer or video games for up to an hour daily are the most sociable, happy and least hyperactive, Oxford University study finds.

Children who play video games for up to an hour a day are happier, more sociable and less hyperactive than those who don’t play at all, research has found.

Despite widespread fears that video game usage is harmful, an Oxford University study of boys and girls aged between 10 and 15 found that playing for up to sixty minutes a day could actually be beneficial.

The study tested almost 5,000 children, comparing those who did not play at all with those who spent varying periods of time playing console games such as Nintendo Wii and Sony Play Stations, or computer-based games.

“Young people who indulged in a little video game-playing were associated with being better adjusted than those who had never played or those who were on video games for three hours or more,” it concluded.

“Those who played video games for less than an hour… were associated with the highest levels of sociability and were most likely to say they were satisfied with their lives. They also appeared to have fewer friendship and emotional problems, and reported less hyperactivity than the other groups.”

Those who played such games for longer, but still “moderate”, periods of between one and three hours a day appeared to experience no effect, either positive or negative.

However, those who played “excessively” – for more than three hours a day – did see some harmful effects.

The study said there were good reasons to think that game-playing could have beneficial effects when compared with non-interactive entertainment, such as watching TV.

“Games provide a wide range of novel cognitive challenges, opportunities for exploration, relaxation and socialization with peers,” it said. “Like non-digitally mediated forms of child play, games may encourage child well-being and healthy social adjustment.”

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, estimates that three in four British children and teenagers play video games on a daily basis.

It says previous research shows that roughly half of young people in the UK are “light players” of the kind the study suggests is beneficial.

Nearly one-third of children spend between one and three hours, while between 10 and 15 per cent spend more than three hours a day on such electronic games.

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