For science: New UK study finds that video games improve the mental health, reading, and writing skills of kids

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For science: New UK study finds that video games improve the mental health, reading, and writing skills of kids

So this one’s fun. The results of a study performed in the UK between November and December of 2019 have just been released. The study’s goal? Surveying children to find out the effects that video games have on their lives. And the findings? It turns out that video games are a net positive, as 85% of the subjects surveyed state that they read more based on their interests in games, while 63% go on to write things related to video games. That includes creative works as well as just blogging or chatting.

Moreover, more than 76% of those surveyed communicated with their peers based on enjoying video games, and there were a plethora of responses indicating that games helped the children deal with difficult emotions and imagine being someone else. Obviously, one survey alone doesn’t give the full picture, but it appears to be another brick in the ongoing path of understanding showing just how much a love of games can bring to someone’s life. Other than ridiculous game memes, of course.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

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Fisty

omg.

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Utakata

With Language learnt from the playground now available in rated PvP! >.<

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Syran

Like almost all studies of this kind, this is almost exclusively nonsense. Video games as a medium are obviously not inherently bad. They are also not inherently good. Just like any other entertainment medium or art form.

Citing “in-game communication” as a “route into reading” is the best example of how much they were grasping for anything positive to report. Just like with video games or movies, “reading” is not a good thing if you’re just reading a bunch of shit.

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2Ton Gamer

I don’t think you quite understand then and it was not them grasping for anything. I will use my son as an example. Our son, like many boys did not enjoy reading while growing up. It was through playing Fable and then later Skyrim that he learned to enjoy a deeper story behind what he was doing and so he went on to not only wanting to learn more about backstory but then seeking out more stories (offline) about the overall world of Skyrim, but also it led him into creative writing. It has led him to read more to learn more about backstory for other things besides games as well. I can directly contribute this to video games and not some story that he read while in school. There is some validity here.

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Syran

Reading “in-game communication” means reading text chat from other players. Reading/experiencing an authored story like Skyrim or Fable is something completely different.

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traja

You need to read the source before drawing these conclusions. For example:

4 in 5 (79.4%) young people who play video games read materials relating to video games once a month, including in-game communications (39.9%), reviews and blogs (30.5%), books (21.8%) and fan fiction (19.4%)

So chat is only one part of it. I would also challenge the idea that chat is not useful reading material. If nothing else it helps in learning the language.

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Syran

No offense, but this thread is starting to become a perfect illustration of how incapable our current society is at processing information and why the world has as many issues as it does.

I have read the source. I also never stated that in-game communications are the only factor it mentions. Using that data at all, however, has absolutely no place in a study like this. I’m not even saying it’s impossible to draw a positive connection between reading text chat and improving reading abilities. But you can’t just say that’s a given and put it in a scientific study. Because it’s not a given and it’s not scientific. Not even close. 2Ton Gamer’s anecdotal reference to their son was more scientific than that.

Also, have you read in-game chats lately? You’d have a really hard time proving that to be a net positive thing for anyone, let alone young children.

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traja

It is a reasonable assumption that any reading improves your reading skills. Of course it would be more rigorous to also study each reading material and its effects but that is an unreasonable scope.

For example I don’t think that it has been proven that reading online blogs like this help children with their reading skills. However despite that lack of evidence it is pretty ridiculous to think that just because the text is online and on a website it is fundamentally different. Similarly you need to justify saying that text in the form of chat is fundamentally different.

Keep in mind that this is about reading and not about the contents of what you read. It could be a discussion about Anduins glorious hair or an explanation of orbital mechanics in Kerbal Space Program. Reading is reading.

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Syran

I frankly don’t think there’s any ground for debate whether video game chat is a positive experience for children, be it psychologically or as a “route into reading”. The gif above should be a sufficient illustration for my point.

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traja

You judge this paper for its lack of being scientific enough but then use a cherry picked chat caption to illustrate a statistical point. Nice.

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Syran

I can’t quote scientific data where none exist. It’s just personal opinion, anecdotal evidence and conjecture. I assume you can see where I’m going with this?

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Bannex

Moderation of course. The correct answer is always boring.

No, this survey doesn’t mean you should let children play all the video games they want. Yes, there may be some benefit to games. No, they are not all upside, plenty of real science has illustrated game addiction. Yes, games are probably cognitively better than just watching tv. No, video games don’t make you a violent person. Yes, video games can negatively impact somebody’s life. No, it’s not the game’s fault, it’s the person or the parents for letting it go that far. Yes, Chinese software is part of the Chinese government.

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Utakata

Gaming addiction is not really a physical thing though. Rather is indicative of underlying personality disorders in obsession to which gaming, among other activities, can become.

That said, I agree with the moderation part. But this study does not appear to be encouraging children to be imbalanced with this activity. Rather suggesting it’s more beneficial, as opposed to detrimental, when they do.

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Alt+F4

i resist the (obv much needed) desire for (analytical) sarcasm and return to the worst novel of my 2020 (Snow Crash, Stephenson) bibliography.

sry, cant help it: FOR THE (brave, new) ECONOMY!

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Arktouros

Sigh, a survey. Surveys are the least scientific method of any study. Period. What they are is super cheap which is why they get used so much but as far as science goes they are basically the bottom tier.

Some of the results written there are also…pretty iffy. For example:

[quote]2 in 3 (65.0%) young people say playing video games helps them imagine being someone else[/quote]

Had the conclusion: “Video games can have potential benefits for increasing empathy.” That’s certainly one conclusion you could draw from that…I also can’t help but kinda laugh at the idea that video games help people with creative writing as they discover new and inventive ways to insult one another online…oh I mean 100% through helping others with advice and video game scripts.

Like I don’t disagree, but man they really are bending quite a bit here.

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Utakata

I would agree this would need to be independently verified by other sources and methods to be fully conclusive. But this study does show that this needs further worthwhile investigating.

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traja

Surveys are not inherently bad. They are limited in what can be reliably measured but they can be very good for measuring things that they are suited to measure. This one includes both reliable questions and less reliable questions.

This for example is not reliable: “Young people said that playing video games helps them to build social connections both ‘in real life’ and online” Because what effect video games have on your ability to socialize outside of them is not something you can reliably evaluate yourself.

Whereas this one is quite reasonable: “3 in 4 (76.3%) young people talk to their friends about video games compared with only 3 in 10 (29.4%) who discuss books” It is an answer that is easy know reliably about yourself and there is no clear motivation to lie or be in denial about it.

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Arktouros

I never said they were bad, I said they were the least scientific method of study. They are fraught with numerous flaws such as the fact people lie or misrepresent their behavior.

If you want to look at what an actual study looks like you can pretty much throw a book and hit a video game violence study that actually gets funding and can do more than a casual reddit survey and then fluff up a bunch of bullshit off of questionable data.

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traja

Was this actually a Reddit survey? Because if it was then sure, that is really bad. That however isn’t a problem with surveys but rather a problem with a specific methodology. Of course it would be nice to do everything in a double blind experiment but it’s not practical.

I agree that this is definitely written in a way that emphasizes the most positive interpretation. Like your example of “Video games can have potential benefits for increasing empathy.” Is not untrue since it doesn’t make a hard claim but having that be the only interpretation is misleading.

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Arktouros

In this case it was a “BounceTogether” survey which is a survey tool designed for students/teachers and can cover any topic as needed. Many of the gaming lockbox related studies have all been reddit surveys so it’s usually my first thought now in the low bar people have set for “science research.”

Surveys are the root of the problem regardless of the methodology used. Survey illicit feedback which again relies on people being truthful. People are often times not truthful for a variety of reasons beyond basic deception. Again it’s just the lowest, weakest form of scientific study but gets mostly used because it’s the cheapest.

This is fine, in theory, so long as you also take the conclusions as equally cheap and mostly meaningless. I see survey based science as mostly a foundation for whether or not an actual scientific research study should be done or not.

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NeoWolf

You mean what we have been telling non-gamers for decades is true. well, what were the chances of that :)