Are video games better than TV and social media for children’s IQ?

IQ in children who game
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Many parents are worried about their children gaming too much. Besides, they also worry about the effects of gaming on their children’s mental growth. Fear not because new research suggests that children who spend an above-average time on games show elevated IQ levels.

Above-average IQ growth in children playing games:

Researchers from Sweden-based Karolinska Institutet conducted a psychological test to analyze the general cognitive abilities of more than 5,000 children aged between 10 and 12 in the United States.

The test deuced how much time these children spent on gaming, watching TV and videos, and social media. The psychological tests were also repeated two years later in a follow-up.

The result showed that gaming for over above-average hours increased intelligence of children by approximately 2.5 IQ points. On the contrary, TV and social media did not show any significant negative or positive changes in children.

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Professor Torkel Klingberg from Karolinska Institutet’s neuroscience department said that all the children showed similar IQ levels at 10. Still, the ones who played games showcased the most gains after two years.

He also gave the example of a child in the top 17% in terms of gaming hours. After two years, the child scored around 2.5 points more than the average child.

The researchers created the index for the research from 5 tasks comprised reading comprehension and vocabulary, attention and execution function, visual-spatial processing, and learning ability.

Two years later, the researchers determined the difference in performance in the period and the individual differences in the preliminary test. Moreover, the researchers controlled the genetic differences and the difference in the education and income of the parents.

These tests allowed the researchers to determine the actual effects of media consumption on children.

4 hours of average screen time recorded

Based on the research, they found that a child spent two and half hours watching videos, an hour gaming, and around half an hour on social media on average. That’s 4 hours for an average child and 6 hours for the top 25% of the 5,000 children.

The researchers observed that time spent on social media did not boost their intelligence or slow their growth. Though, when parental education was not considered, watching videos and TV resulted in a positive increase in one of the tests.

The research solidifies the positive effects of gaming on cognitive development in children. It also aligns with recent research that shows intelligence depends on environmental factors and it is not constant.

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However, the researchers say that their results are not a recommendation for all parents to allow gaming for extensive hours. Note that the researchers did not consider the type of games. They also overlooked determinants like sleep quality and mental health.

Klingberg also mentioned that they would be studying the effects of environmental factors and cognitive impact on childhood brain development.

Nonetheless, the over-worried parents about their children’s gaming habits can now rest easy knowing that their children will be more intelligent than average.

  • Meanwhile, check out our gaming comparisons Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max.