Gaming Can Have Some Benefits for Children

School-age kids who spend hours a day playing video games may outperform their peers on certain tests of mental agility, according to psychiatrists at the University of Vermont performing research on kids and gaming.

What to know:

  • Children who regularly spent 3 or more hours per day gaming were able to score higher on standard cognitive tests that measured short-term memory and impulse control.

  • Video gaming, which requires active mental engagement, could have some benefits, but it’s unclear if gaming sharpens kids’ minds or simply that children who excel in certain mental tasks are drawn to video games.

  • Gamers also showed higher levels of activity in parts of the brain associated with attention and working memory.

  • There was no evidence that video gamers who played at least 3 hours a day were worse off in terms of mental health, rule breaking or attention problems than kids who never gamed.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screen-time limits and no changes are being recommended based on the findings, because while the study shows possible benefits, it also does not prove that video gaming and the genre of games played cause no harm.

This is a summary of the article “Association of Video Gaming With Cognitive Performance Among Children” published in JAMA Network Open on October 24, 2022. The full article can be found on

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