Many parents of young children worry about how much time their kids play video games and if that may cause mental health problems later on. However, few longitudinal studies have been done to examine how playing games at a young age impacts psychiatric symptoms later in life. A Norwegian team of researchers looked into this and found the following in a sample of 791 children:
- More ADHD symptoms at age 8 predicted more gaming at age 10
- Gaming did not predict any more psychiatric symptoms
The authors interpret these results as meaning that the sheer amount of time gaming is not harmful to children's mental health. However, children that are "poorly regulated" may become more attracted to games throughout childhood.
One limitation to this study is that the researchers looked specifically at psychiatric symptoms, and not harms a broad category (e.g., schooling, family difficulties, etc.) which is common when thinking of problem gaming vs. more pathology-based conceptualizations of gaming.
What are some of your thoughts and reactions to this study?