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New study shows that video games can make some kids smarter

Sending this report to my mom right now.

kid playing video game
Image: Unsplash

Researchers have discovered a link between kids who play video games and increased intelligence levels. As it turns out, video games aren’t as bad for you as your parents have been saying all these years.

Scientists from several different parts of Europe published a paper earlier this month to share their findings. The research was conducted by analyzing the change in 9,855 American kids aged 9-10 in the ABCD Study over the course of two years.

On average, the kids analyzed spent about 2.5 hours per day watching TV and approximately one hour playing games. After two years, researchers found that kids who spent more time than average playing video games actually saw an increase of around 2.5 points in their IQ.

“Our results support the claim that screen time generally doesn’t impair children’s cognitive abilities, and that playing video games can actually help boost intelligence,” says neuroscientist Torkel Klingberg of Karolinska Institutet, one of the researchers involved in this study.

This definitely contradicts the message that many people try to spew, claiming that video games are terrible for the youth. And it’s not even the only study of its kind to come to the same conclusions.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that playing video games turns people into geniuses. The increase in IQ levels was relatively small and it’s not guaranteed that games have a causal relationship with increased intelligence.

But it does, at least, squash the “video games will rot your brain” narrative. I always found that argument pretty ridiculous. A parent would scold their kids for playing games to then go spend several hours watching Jerry Springer. It just doesn’t quite add up.

At least we’re finally getting away from that narrative. Of course, there are a lot of factors that play into childhood development, as researchers note in this study. That said, it really is time to stop blaming video games for everything bad in the world.

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Contributing writer with a passion for gaming and tech. Probably getting wrecked by some kids in Rocket League.

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