Do you want to raise successful children? Science says that this contradictory habit makes them smarter

Suppose I have to tell you that a habit that most parents discourage – in fact, a habit that they could argue with their children -; can it actually lead to greater intelligence?

Our topic today is about video games. A new study from Europe uses a “huge” amount of data to determine what happens to children who spend above average time playing with them.

The results are astounding and represent the latest and greatest study to achieve such a positive result. They are also a reason to do the opposite of what many parents have preached for decades or more.

Write in the online peer-reviewed journal Scientific reportsThe researchers said they found that children who spent more time playing video games than their peers for 2 years had a higher IQ as a result.

As the authors summarized:

“While children who play more video games at the age of ten [old] on average they are not more intelligent than children who do not play, they showed the greatest increase in intelligence after two years, both boys and girls.

For example, a child who was in the top 17% in terms of hours spent playing games increased his IQ by about 2.5 points more than the average child in two years.

This is proof of useful, causal action of video games for intelligence. ”

I emphasized these two words, “causation,” because so often in this kind of research we wonder if it’s just a matter of correlation, which means that maybe kids who get smarter for unrelated reasons also happen. to Play Video Games |

But here the authors explicitly say that they believe that the video game itself leads to higher intelligence.

Researchers from universities in the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden interviewed thousands of American children and used data from the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development Program (ABCD), which is described as “the largest long-term study of brain development and children’s health in the United States.” “

They are associated with 5,000 children at least twice: first when they were between 9 and 10 years old, and then again two years later, at 11 and 12 years old.

Each time, they tracked how many children said they spent their time on three screen-related activities:

  • Watch online videos or TV shows (average 2.5 hours per day)
  • Online communication (probably via social media) (average 30 minutes per day)
  • Video game play (average one hour a day)

As the researchers noted, this adds an average of about four hours of screen time per day; a number that rose to six hours a day for the first 25 percent. Anyway, this is a huge part of their free time.

They also tested the children for an intelligence index that included five tasks:

  • “two [tasks] for reading comprehension and vocabulary, “
  • “one for attention and executive function (which includes working memory, flexible thinking and self-control)”
  • “One who evaluates visual-spatial processing (as rotating objects in your mind)” and
  • “one for the ability to learn from multiple experiments.”

Eventually, they found that while those who spent the most time playing video games saw that their IQs rose the most, while those who spent more time on the screen watching of videos or communication, see little or no difference.

This is not the first study to suggest significant cognitive benefits from playing video games.

But the study’s authors, including Torkel Klingberg of the Department of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Bruno Sos of the Department of Biological Psychology at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, said theirs was different because it took into account children’s genes and socioeconomic status. .

“Many parents feel guilty when their children play video games for hours. Some even worry that it may make their children less smart,” the authors write.

But if there really is a “causal” connection between video games and intelligence, and if “[i]Intelligence is an important trait in our lives and strongly predicts a child’s future income, happiness and longevity, “Does this mean that parents should encourage their children to play video games as much as possible?

Well, that’s debatable, of course. And I would raise two points for consideration:

First, there are other health challenges associated with spending too much time in front of the screen as a whole.

And second, if the kids didn’t play video games so often, would they just watch videos instead?

Or will they read books and study math or learn languages, which could have an even greater effect on increased intelligence?

As I write in my free ebook, How to raise successful children (7th edition)there comes a time in the lives of many successful people when they begin to measure success not only by what they achieve themselves, but also by what they pass on to the next generation, including their children.

Perhaps studies like this are part of achieving this goal.

“Our results should not be taken as a general recommendation for all parents to allow unlimited games,” the researchers wrote. “But for those parents who are worried about their children playing video games, you can now feel better knowing that it probably makes them a little smarter.”

The views expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not Inc.com’s.

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