dad and son playing video games
A boy and his father enjoying playing a video game together iStock

Research into the effect of video game device usage among children studying for their GCSE exams has discovered that of those who play games twice a day, only 41% achieve at least five A-C grades. This is compared to 77% who achieve the same grades and report rarely using video game devices. The study reports that no relationship was observed between social media use and exam results.

The long-term research of 600 students aged 14-16 years-old was conducted by The National Children's Bureau Northern Ireland to study "the link between young people's levels of access to, and usage of, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and how this subsequently impacts on GCSE attainment."

"Our research shows that using a computer for homework can help pupils consolidate learning and do better in exams," said Celine McStravick, the director of the National Children's Bureau Northern Ireland (via BBC). "So, schools should be regularly setting homework that requires the use of a computer and the internet. Similarly, we need parents and carers to step in and limit excessive amounts of time spent gaming."

Other findings from the research reveal that over the two years of the study, time spent online rose among the participants. 40% of research participants spend four or more hours online per day, be that studying for GCSEs, using social media, gaming or otherwise. 43% of those questioned spent less than an hour a day using their computer for homework.

No link was found between the use of mobile phones and tablets and GCSE results. 72% of those asked said they felt safe online, despite the concerns of parents and teachers.

The study conflicts with another from 2012, conducted by Yardley's School in Birmingham, which found that video games improved exam results in GCSE English, maths and science.

Your thoughts about the study's findings will likely depend on your thoughts on homework and just how much extra-curricular study a child should do versus how important it is for them to relax and enjoy themselves when they're not at school.

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