Effects of Video-Game Ownership on Young Boys’ Academic and Behavioral Functioning: A Randomized, Controlled Study (Weis & Cerankosky, in press)

Originally reported by Not Exactly Rocket Science (via Gamepolitics). A study by Robert Weis and Brittany Cerankosky (Denison University) have published experimental findings that video games displace other activities impeding children’s reading and writing skills. To avoid redundant reporting, I’m deferring this post to the original by Ed Yong.

Abstract

Young boys who did not own video games were promised a video-game system and child-appropriate games in exchange for participating in an “ongoing study of child development.” After baseline assessment of boys’ academic achievement and parent and teacher-reported behavior, boys were randomly assigned to receive the video-game system immediately or to receive the video-game system after follow-up assessment, 4 months later. Boys who received the system immediately spent more time playing video games and less time engaged in after-school academic activities than comparison children. Boys who received the system immediately also had lower reading and writing scores and greater teacher-reported academic problems at follow-up than comparison children. Amount of video-game play mediated the relationship between video-game ownership and academic outcomes. Results provide experimental evidence that video games may displace after-school activities that have educational value and may interfere with the development of reading and writing skills in some children.

The authors noted that future studies should examine whether such displacement effect persist beyond the 4 months they have examined. IMO moreover, I would like to examine parental influences (behavioural, cognitive and emotional) and reactions regarding the introduction of video games into the household. What are the strategies most parents adopt in regulating (or not) video game play, what attitudes they form, and how are they coping emotionally, i.e. is their stress level increasing? Do they feel more connected with their children?

Weis, R. & Cerankosky, B. C. (in press). Effects of Video-Game Ownership on Young Boys’ Academic and Behavioral Functioning: A Randomized, Controlled Study. Psychological Science, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797610362670

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