Study suggests online games stimulates brain of kids and improves their academic performance (unlike social networks)

A new study from the University of Melbourne suggests that the practice of online games would improve school performance while conversely, attendance of social networks would lower academic performance of adolescents.

online gaming

What are the ins and outs of this new study? How to explain these relations of cause and effect?

Michael Stora: This study examined on a cohort of 12000 Korean adolescents, compared their grades according to their practice of online games or their attendance of social networks.

The researchers found that the academic performance of adolescents were improving as they were playing online, and it lowered when they passed their time on social networks.

Indeed, the practice of online games can improve academic performance, but in my opinion it does not shade the pitch of this new study, only among adolescents already with intellectual facilities. A video game like League of Legends stimulates for example such anticipation, deductive and spatial intelligence, either with the same cognitive abilities stimulated by the study of “hard” sciences, such as mathematics, physics or chemistry.

On the other hand, I do not think online games can improve the performance of a teenager in school failure. In this case, the interest of the practice of online games on casino sites like Mansion Casino is rather to re-motivate troubled teens who suffer the gaze of others and have lost confidence in themselves. An online game does not judge, does not stigmatize and retains only the games won by the user, while a low rating does not catch and return the student to his own incompetence, highlighting at the same time his feeling of helplessness.

In terms of social networks, where attendance would lower school performance, the argument of the new study seems plausible. It seems silly for me to say that children fail at school seek to compensate for their loss of confidence in them through other means than the school, including social networks that belong. Their use indeed develops behaviors very self-centered and aims primarily to build an image of ourselves as positive as possible, trying to generate maximum retweets of likes, followers, etc.

Given the results of this new study, should we conclude that the parents or the Ministry of Education should encourage children to play online, and instead restrict or prohibit their attendance on social networks?

As for the parents, it is true that social networks and generally screens have become an authoritarian challenge. I think we should, to the extent possible, do not transform into a completely “negotiator” parent, but monitor the attendance of social networks of our teenager and ask them to know their limits. Now, I do not think we should go up to the ban, especially when it is the very assiduous social networks, which, as I explained above, may especially be a offset way for the loss of confidence generated by academic failure. In this case, it is better to let your children attend social networks as they see fit, as it does them good, while trying to find other means by which they can regain confidence in them, relying particularly on activities that grow out of the family home and the school environment, such as sports or drama for example.

Regarding key to online games, I would not advise parents to push their children to practice in order to improve academic performance, because you can get lost very quickly. However, I think the integration of online games in school is a great idea, which is also this way, as evidenced by the upcoming release of the Microsoft’s educational version of Minecraft. It would change the ways of learning, giving meaning to something very abstract, as an algorithm for example, and incorporating a variable fun in learning.

More concretely, what online games would you recommend to parents who wish to see the academic performance of their children for improvement? Conversely, do you think that social networks should be avoided as it is detrimental to school performance?

Apart from the narcissistic aspect, it is true that social networks like Facebook and Twitter have no real educational value. However, networks like YouTube or Snapchat foster creativity, which is in my view an essential ability to succeed in life, even if this new study does not mention anything about it.