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Playing video games for limited time can help make children better adjusted

Playing video games for less than an hour a day can lead children to becoming better adjusted. Photo: Britta Pedersen

Children that play video games for less than an hour a day can become better adjusted, according to a new study.

The research, carried out by Oxford University, found that young people who played video games were associated with the highest levels of sociability and were most likely to say they were satisfied with their lives.

This compared with those who had never played or who used video games for three hours or more.

Those who spent more than half their daily free time playing electronic games were not as well-adjusted. Credit: Oliver Berg/DPA/Press Association Images

Those who spent more than half their daily free time playing electronic games were not as well-adjusted.

But the findings showed that the influence of video games on youngsters - whether for good or bad - is very small when compared with more "enduring" factors, such as whether the child is from a functioning family and their school relationships.

The study, published today in the journal Pediatrics, found that three in four British children and teenagers play video games on a daily basis.

The study's author, Dr Andrew Przybylski, of the Oxford Internet Institute, said:

These results support recent laboratory-based experiments that have identified the downsides to playing electronic games.

However, high levels of video game-playing appear to be only weakly linked to children's behavioural problems in the real world. Likewise, the small, positive effects we observed for low levels of play on electronic games do not support the idea that video games on their own can help children develop in an increasingly digital world.

– Dr Andrew Przybylski