A decade-long study of over 11,000 children in the UK has found no association between playing video games from as young as five, and mood or behavioural problems in later life.
Originally published in the British Medical Journal (via Games and Learning), the findings were part of the UK Millennium Cohort Study and sought to explore how exposure to screen entertainment affected children's psychosocial development.
The key findings that came out of the study included that exposure to video games from the age of five was shown to have no effect on behaviour, attention or emotional issues. Neither television nor video games caused attentional or emotional problems and there was no difference between boys and girls in the survey results.
The study did show, however, that watching more than three hours of TV a day at the age of five did lead to a small increase in behavioural problems in youngsters between the ages of five and seven. It's worth noting too, that a much lower number of children spent as long playing video games as they did watching TV.
So what does this mean? Well, most studies that span such long time-frames tend to focus on the effects of watching TV rather than the more active act of playing video games, and almost all have focused on American children. It's also one of the first studies to separate TV and video games.
The results of the survey seem to validate what others have been saying for some time now: video games are actually a positive force in the world or, at the very least, don't do any real harm.
We've reported before how video games have been found to help dyslexic children read better, and how they can also increase spacial orientation and memory formation.
While this study is unlikely to be considered the last word on the subject, it's certainly a compelling addition to the growing mountain of evidence that video games aren't a source of pernicious evil designed to rot young minds.
Luke Karmali is IGN's UK Junior Editor. You too can revel in mediocrity by following him on IGN and on Twitter.
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