video games childrenMany adults have questions about children and video games. How much gaming is too much? Should kids play games at all? Research from Oxford University may have an answer. Results of a new study indicate that playing video games for a limited amount of time each day is associated with greater life satisfaction, improved attention, and other benefits.

The research team reviewed survey responses from 5,000 young people aged 10 to 15. The surveys asked the young people how often they played console or computer games on a typical school day. The young people reported on their life satisfaction, ability to get along with peers, likeliness to help a person in trouble, and levels of hyperactivity and inattention. The research team used this information to assess the young people’s psychological and social adjustment.

Approximately 75% of the young people played video games daily. The young people who reported playing video games for an hour or less each day demonstrated better psychological and social adjustment than their peers who did not play video games at all. The young people who played for an hour or less were also more likely to be satisfied with their lives. They reported the highest levels of positive social interactions and lower levels of hyperactivity. In contrast, young people who played video games for more than three hours each day reported lower life satisfaction.

The researchers suggest that playing a limited amount of video games each day may have beneficial social effects because video games provide young people with a common language. Playing a limited amount of video games may be reflective of a strong family structure, which could also influence well-being.

This research is published in the journal Pediatrics.

Previous news in emotional regulation: