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Computer Games can Help Improve Children’s Grades

Update Date: Apr 08, 2014 03:29 PM EDT

In recent studies, researchers have been focused on how computers and other devices negatively impact young children's health. Many of these studies have concluded that too much media screen time correlated to higher body mass indexes (BMI), which is a measurement of obesity. In a new study, however, researchers examined potential benefits of using computers in the educational field. This study found that specialized computer games can help improve children's school grades.

In this study, the research team recruited 111 Argentinian children who were attending first grade. Many of these children had problems with attendance due to low-income. For 10 weeks, half of the children were instructed to play specially designed video games for 15 minutes three times a week. The other half of the children spent 15 minutes three times a week playing regular video games. The goal of the study was to examine the effects of specialized games over regular games.

The researchers found that the group of children who played the special games had improvements in their overall school grades. These children, who had lower grades prior to the experiment due to poor school attendance, had caught up to the math and language grades of other children who do not have attendance issues. The coursework had remained unchanged throughout the study and the children's teachers were not informed about the study.

The researchers stated that even though they did not find a cause and effect relationship, they believe that the video games helped motivate the children to perform better in school. Several studies in the past have found contradicting results about using computer games in boosting children's education. This study suggests that if the games are created right, they have the potential to be highly beneficial.

The study, "Far transfer to language and math of a short software-based gaming intervention," was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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