Children who spend time playing video games have higher IQs

The study was carried out in Sweden (Picture: Getty Images)

Children who spend more time playing video games see greater intelligence gains as they get older, according to a new study.

Yet watching TV and scrolling through social media does not have the same effect, they say.

Parents often express concerns that screen time has a negative impact on children’s mental and physical health.

But experts in Sweden found some activities involving screens can be beneficial.

Psychological tests were given to 9,000 boys and girls aged between nine and 10 in the United States to measure their mental abilities.

Children and their parents were also asked about how much time kids spend watching TV, playing games and using social media.

Five thousand participants were asked to take the same tests to measure their psychological abilities two years later.

The educational background and income of parents, as well as genetic differences, were also taken into account.

GamerCityNews SEI_108150657 Children who spend time playing video games have higher IQs

The study favours children playing video games rather than scrolling through social media (Picture: Getty Images)

The children involved spent an average of two-and-half hours watching TV, half an hour on social media and one hour playing video games.

Those who played more games boosted their intelligence by approximately 2.5 IQ points more than average, the researchers found.

No positive or negative effects were observed from watching TV or spending time on social media.

Their findings support recent research which shows intelligence is not a constant, rather it is influenced by environmental factors.

Author Professor Torkel Klingberg at the Karolinska Institutet (corr) said: ‘We didn’t examine the effects of screen behaviour on physical activity, sleep, wellbeing or school performance, so we can’t say anything about that.

‘But our results support the claim that screen time generally doesn’t impair children’s cognitive abilities, and that playing video games can actually help boost intelligence.

‘This is consistent with several experimental studies of video-game playing.

‘We’ll now be studying the effects of other environmental factors and how the cognitive effects relate to childhood brain development.’

The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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