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Video Games Boost School Scores but Social Media Is Rotting Brains

Teenagers who regularly play online games are more likely to get better school scores according to a recent Australian study

If you’re a reader of this site you’re already on the gaming bandwagon and knew that games made you superior in all walks of life. At least the teenagers yelling at me over voice chat keep telling me how much greater they are.

Now there’s an Australian study to back up all that smack talk.

Take this quote from Associate Professor Alberto Posso from RMIT’s School of Economics, Finance and Marketing where he mentions online gaming appears to be a more useful way to spend time online.

“Kids that are spending more time on online gaming — for example in a maths test — they’re likely to score 17 points above the average, which is about 4 per cent above the average [test score],”

Using data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Associate Professor Possu analysed the online habits of 12,000 Australian 15 year olds, which he then compared to their academic results.

Learning valuable life lessons like problem solving and 'pwning noobs'
Learning valuable life lessons like problem solving and ‘pwning noobs’

In a move expected to have parents rolling their eyes and teenagers looking smug, Posso said the PISA data revealed that online gaming helped young people develop analytical and problem-solving skills.

“Sometimes [players] have to understand some of the principals of chemistry even, so they really have to understand science,” he said.

“Some psychologists have argued that massive online player games can be beneficial to cognitive development.”

The researchers at RMIT went on to say that scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or chat sites had the reverse effect, by hindering academic success in high school.

‘You’re not really going to solve problems using Facebook’

Perhaps unsurprisingly for anyone who’s lost hours to Twitter or Instagram, the study found spending hours on social media was mostly wasted time for teenagers, in terms of academic performance.

Playing video games with kids
“My daughter just won a no-scope scholarship to university”

Australian teenagers who used Facebook or chat sites every day scored 20 points worse in maths than students who never used social media, the research said.

“You’re not really going to solve problems using Facebook,” Professor Posso said.

“What’s interesting, from an economic perspective, there’s a very high opportunity cost of time, where we’re spending a lot of time doing something that may not necessarily be associated with performance in school.

“When you play online games you’re solving puzzles to move to the next level and that involves using some of the general knowledge and skills in maths, reading and science that you’ve been taught during the day.”

The research has been published in the International Journal of Communication.

Though the study found that most social media is a waste of time and won’t help teenager academic scores, they fail to mention that following Non-Fiction Gaming on Facebook, Twitter or our Youtube Channel will actually make you an amazing person.

If you doubt the validity of that, perhaps you can subscribe to our offerings and do a bit of research yourself.

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Daniel Ryan
Daniel Ryan
Daniel 'Sheriff Dan' Ryan is a long time Dungeon Master who has worked in Esports, Marketing, and writes about Gaming when the sun goes down.



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