Video games linked with childhood happiness?

By Casey Frye, CNN Writer

PS4 controller
Playing video games for an hour or less can lead to happiness and better social relationships. However, if you play for too long, you’ll miss out on real-life good times with your buddies!

Ask any concerned parent, and they will probably tell you that video games are a surefire way to waste valuable time. If you pose the same question to researchers from Oxford University, though, they’ll give you a totally different answer! Apparently, some exposure to video games may actually be good for a child’s well-being!

In order to reach this conclusion, researchers studied almost 5,000 kids between the ages of 10 and 15 years old. All of the youngsters had different playing habits, ranging from absolutely no video games at all to multiple hours a day. What they found was that kids who engaged in an hour or less of game time tended to be happier! They also tended to be more sociable and satisfied with their lives. Finally, the kids who played video games for an hour or less had fewer emotional problems or friendship issues!

According to the scientists who conducted the study, video games are a great way to challenge our creativity, engage us in exploration, and encourage relaxation. Kids who spent one to three hours in the digital play world were able to reap all of these benefits, and balance them with enriching activities in the real world. However, kids who spent more than three hours on video games missed out on fun real-world activities.

Now, this study isn’t claiming that you can put off your homework and play to your heart’s content; rather, it’s saying that an hour here and there throughout the week could do some good!

Featured image courtesy of sean dreilinger on Flickr. Image of PS4 controller courtesy of PlayStation Facebook.