OXFORD, United Kingdom — Video games have no positive or negative effect on adolescents who play between one and three hours a day, according to a new study from Oxford University.
Participants between 10 and 15 years old who played “moderate” amounts of video games, one to three hours per day, were just as socially and well-adjusted as those who played no video games at all, according to the study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
“Compared with factors shown to have robust and enduring effects on child well-being, such as family functioning, social dynamics at school and material deprivations, the current study suggests the influences of electronic gaming, for good or ill, are not practically significant,” according to the study.
Researchers surveyed 5,000 adolescents in the United Kingdom, asking them questions about how satisfied they are with their lives and their levels of hyperactivity, empathy and friendships, in addition to how much time they spend playing video games.
Adolescents in the study who played less than one hour per day were more well-adjusted than those who didn’t play games at all, while those who played more than three hours showed signs of negative outcomes. However, researchers said there is only a weak link between playing video games and behavior in real-world situations.
“The overall effects are consistent yet small, indicating that both the broad fears and hopes about gaming may be exaggerated,” the study reads.
Three in four children surveyed reported playing video games on a daily basis.