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Video Games Not So Bad For Kids After All: Study

A new study shows a little bit of video gaming might help children be more sociable and well-adjusted — but just a little bit.

By Sebastian Martinez | August 4, 2014

​​A new study finds playing video games could actually help a child's development — with a couple caveats. (Via Rodrigo Della Fávera / CC BY 2.0)

The study on kids from 10 to 15 was published in the journal Pediatrics by a behavioral scientist at the University of Oxford. It found "low levels of regular daily play related to better psychosocial adjustment, compared with no play."

"Low levels" was defined as less than one hour, and the link between the video game playing and the benefits, although statistically substantial, was small. (Via NBC)

What wasn't small was the contrast between how different outlets reacted to the study. 

Tech blog Gizmodo ran the headline, "Shock Survey Says Video Games are Good for Kids" and blamed media for painting young gamers as future "emotionless killers."

Other outlets like the International Business Times were more surprised that games are "Not Always Bad For Kids." 

And it's also worth noting that sites like Gizmodo and GameSpot that tend to cover games used images of active people playing games on their feet, while more traditional publication The Independent opted for a screen capture from the controversial "Grand Theft Auto" series — which raises the question: 

"I was thinking, well, which games were you playing?" (Via NBC)

The study, which focused more on how long the kids were playing the games, didn't actually say. 

The link between video games and behavior has long drawn public interest, from senators questioning the influence of "Mortal Kombat" to President Obama calling for research into violent video games as a part of his gun control efforts. (Via C-SPANForbes)

And that might help explain why we tend to see stories like this pop up every time a new study on that link comes out. (Via CNN, Wired, Slate, The Huffington Post)

And also why many local news channels that ran the story are still using video of games that came out more than 10 years ago. (Via WTKR, TXCN, WRC-TV)

For his part, the researcher who put the study together told the BBC he hopes it will provide a more moderated view of how video games affect kids.

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