Online Gaming Is Better Than Social Media

You may think your Ms. Pac-Man arcade game is the best game you’ve ever played, but don’t begrudge your children time spent gaming online with friends – it has positive correlations to academic performance.

According to a study titled “Internet Usage and Education Outcomes Among 15-Year-Old Australian Students,” students who participate in online gaming, either solo or multiplayer, also perform better in reading, science and mathematics. Is it a coincidence?

The Study’s Findings

The study tracked 12,000 high school students who had all taken the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a test designed to gather data and measure academic performance of 15-year-old students worldwide.

Those students were also asked about their media-engagement habits. Students were asked to estimate how often they spent time playing video games online by themselves or with other people, and also how much time they spent on social media.

Students who reported that they play online games almost every day scored 15 points higher than average in reading and math and 17 points higher in science. On the other hand, students who spent a considerable amount of time on social media scored 4 points lower than average. The more time students spent on social media, the lower their scores.

What Does It Mean?

The study’s creator, associate professor Alberto Posso from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, made certain to highlight that there is no proof that online gaming or social media directly influence intelligence.

In fact, students who are already more intelligent could be drawn to online gaming for the mental challenge of working out puzzles. Students with lower intelligence may be naturally drawn to socialization.

While no direct correlation has linked online gaming to increased intelligence, it’s clear that pursuing their gaming hobby will probably not hurt your child’s grades, as long as it’s monitored and limited to a reasonable amount. Make sure they leave time for homework, but don’t stress. For a change of pace, encourage them to try an old classic like Ms. Pac-Man and see if their puzzle-solving skills are up to the task.