A study into the effects of video games on more than 600 14 to 16 year-olds has found that 77% of children who play video games once a week or less earn at least 5 GCSEs at C grade or above. Whereas children who play video games twice a day achieved just 41%.
The study, which ran for 2 years, is the first long-term report in Northern Ireland that looks into the impact of video games on children’s attainment. The report, called ‘ICT and Me’, was created by The National Children’s Bureau Northern Ireland and also looked into the effects of daily use of social media, mobile / tablet use, using ICT for homework, and internet safety.
It concluded that social media has no effect on academic performance and there was no link found between mobile / tablet usage and GCSE achievement. However pupils who spend three hours a day using computers for their homework achieved the most impressive exam results, with 79% earning 5 A* to C GCSE grades. Worryingly although parents and teachers are particularly concerned about online safety, there concern was not reflected by the pupils. Indeed, 72% of students said they felt safe using the internet.
From this new information researches who worked on the report have several recommendations for teachers and parents. Firstly, schools should regularly set homework that requires the use of the internet. Secondly, the use of video games should definitely be limited by parents.
The relationship between video game use and worse attainment has long been suspected, however not everyone in Northern Ireland follows this advice. A project devised by CultureTECH, a Londonderry-based innovation festival that took place in March 2015, created a form of the video game Minecraft to teach traditional subjects like history and art. So perhaps not all video games damage grades.
Do you feel that video games damage student’s grades? How do you think computers and video games should be used in the classroom? Share your opinions on social media, or read more about this exciting subject in our Teaching and Technology guest blog series here.