Pediatrics | Published August 26, 2014

Kids can win by playing video games

As a parent, I’m sure you’ve heard time and time again about the potentially negative effects playing video games can have on children. However, a new study from the University of Oxford suggests that small amounts of video game playing can actually be beneficial to children’s emotional and social health.

Researchers evaluated 5,000 children, aged 10 to 15 years, and found they were playing one to three hours of video games daily. They also examined various behaviors such as hyperactivity, peer interaction, and overall life satisfaction. The results of the study indicated that children who played video games less than one hour per day ranked slightly more positive in emotional and social categories compared to children who did not play video games at all. Children who played video games for three or more hours per day were at higher risk to display negative social and emotional health behaviors.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting children’s total screen time (which includes TV, video games, computers, etc.) to no more than two hours per day. If your child enjoys playing video games, keep these tips in mind:

  • Know the rating of video games your child plays and make sure they are age appropriate.
  • Discuss with your child the games they are playing and the other media they are watching.
  • Do not install video game equipment in your child's bedroom.
  • Set limits on how often and how long your child is allowed to play video games and stick to the rules.