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Sunday 4 December 2016

Game time, not type, is key to kids' behaviour

Children who play video games for more than three hours a day are more likely to be hyperactive and unruly at school, a study has shown.

The problem behaviour, which included getting into fights and lack of interest in class, is linked to the amount of time devoted to games rather than the types of games played, said researchers.

No clear association was seen between violent games and the extent to which the 12 to 13-year-olds displayed a tendency to fight or show aggression. Some kinds of games, as well as low play levels of less than an hour a day, appeared to have benefits.

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Lead author Andy Przybylski, from Oxford University, said: "We can see links between some types of games and children's behaviour, as well as time spent playing.

"However, we cannot say that game play causes good or bad behaviour. We also know that the risks attached to game- playing are small.

"A range of other factors in a child's life will influence their behaviour more as this research suggests that playing electronic games may be a statistically significant, but is a minor factor in how children progress academically or in their emotional well-being."

Although some parents might believe that playing strategy and puzzle games can boost school grades or increase social skills, this was not borne out by the research.

hnews@herald.ie

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