Home Family Practice Better Visuo-Motor Skills for Children Playing Video Games

Better Visuo-Motor Skills for Children Playing Video Games

Improved skills seen with small amounts of playing; conduct problems for ≥9 hours of gaming/week

FRIDAY, Aug. 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Children who play video games have significantly better visuo-motor skills, while frequent weekly use is associated with conduct problems, according to a study published online July 27 in the Annals of Neurology.

In a cohort of 2,442 children aged 7 to 11 years, Jesus Pujol, M.D., from the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues examined relationships between weekly video game use, selected cognitive abilities, and conduct-related problems. The impact of video gaming on brain structure and function was examined about one year later with magnetic resonance imaging in 260 of these children.

The researchers found that faster and more consistent psychomotor responses to visual stimulation were seen for children playing video games for one hour per week. No further change in motor speed was observed for those playing more than two hours per week. The weekly time spent gaming correlated with conduct problems, peer conflicts, and reduced prosocial abilities. These negative implications were only seen for children with nine or more hours of video gaming per week. Changes associated with gaming were most evident in basal ganglia white matter and functional connectivity.

“Further studies are needed to determine whether moderate video gaming causes improved visuo-motor skills and whether excessive video gaming causes conduct problems, or whether children who already have these characteristics simply play more video games,” the authors write.

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