New Study Finds Positive Effects of Video Games on Social Behavior

This is it guys: A study that directly looks into the effects of video games on social behavior. What could be more relevant to this blog that this study? PROBABLY NOTHING.

Coming out of The University of Oxford, the study explores how time spent playing video games accounts for variation in positive and negative psychosocial adjustment. To do so, the researchers studied a representative sample of 10 to 15 year old children and had them report their daily intake of video games. Essentially, the researchers were trying to see if the number of hours spent playing video games per day had a significant change on one’s adjustment.  I’ll go through the abstract

A pretty interesting hypothesis. Obviously one might assume that playing video games for copious amounts of hours per day would have negative effects on a child, but what about brief periods of time? Let’s hear about these result.

Low levels (<1 hour daily) as well as high levels (>3 hours daily) of game engagement was linked to key indicators of psychosocial adjustment. Low engagement was associated with higher life satisfaction and prosocial behavior and lower externalizing and internalizing problems, whereas the opposite was found for high levels of play. No effects were observed for moderate play levels when compared with non-players.

Huh. The “high levels” of game engagement seem to fall in line with what one might naturally assume; kids playing too much may be antisocial and not well adjusted. However, it’s the low levels effects that are more surprising. The study suggests that playing games in low moderation can actually have positive effects on children. Those prosocial behaviors is sociology speak for saying that kids are more socially adjusted. That’s great news! Video games aren’t making us strange and recluse, well at least if we don’t spend too much time with them. That said, we do have to take into consideration that excessive video game playing was found to be detrimental to one’s social behavior. MODERATION IS KEY MY FRIENDS.

The links between different levels of electronic game engagement and psychosocial adjustment were small (<1.6% of variance) yet statistically significant. Games consistently but not robustly associated with children’s adjustment in both positive and negative ways, findings that inform policy-making as well as future avenues for research in the area.

Hey, that’s a more intelligent way of saying what I just said! I won’t go into the specifics of the study, as the study itself is currently free to read and it’s only 9 pages. It’s great to see more and more studies focusing on the sociological and psychological effects of video games. WE’RE GETTING THERE GUYS. Before I go, a few considerations on the study that I think are important in examining the result.

Considerations: The study is trying to be representative of an entire population, but obviously we can’t make overlapping statements.  Likewise, the low moderation of video games and high moderation of video games can be indicative of something else going on, such as parenting levels and amount of free time. If a child has something else going on in their free times, such as sports or lessons, their amount of hours spent playing video games will considerably lower. We can’t say for sure if it’s correlation without causation; perhaps those who are playing less video games are more well adjusted because of another factor we’re not recording.


2 thoughts on “New Study Finds Positive Effects of Video Games on Social Behavior”

  1. I love it. Being an advocate for videogamers in the academic environment as well as being a sociology major I quite enjoyed this post. Excessive gameplay is seen as the only kind of gameplay children partake in when it comes to the media. Moderation is key and keeping a watchful eye on what your children play is also key. Videogames are just like any other kind of activity, there are positives and there are negatives.

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