A study by The University of Glasgow of around 11,000 children has found that no connection exists between playing video games at an early age and problems with behaviour later on in life.
Researchers asked mothers to note the amount of time their children played games and to report on any issues occurring later on. Time spent watching television was also noted, as the team behind the study reasoned that attention disorders and other issues could be attributed to both mediums.
The key findings were:
- Exposure to video games had no effect on behaviour, attention or emotional issues
- Watching 3 or more hours of television at age 5 did lead to a small increase in behavioural problems in youngsters between 5 and 7
- Neither television nor video games lead to attentional or emotional problems
- There was no difference between boys and girls in the survey results
Although the study was entirely dependant on the parents of the children accurately reporting average screen time and subsequent problematic behaviour, the that fact the results were common over 13,000 families leaves little room for doubt. The team behind the research also stated that they took into account different approaches to parenting — as well as the backgrounds of each family — in order to ensure the results were fair.
The study counters similar research in the US which claims that video games have a negative impact on young children.