Many mothers tell their children not to play computer games in the belief that they have a damaging impact on the child's brain. However, new research has found that interactive video games actually improve motor skills among preschool children.
Researchers from Deakin University and the University of Wollongong have found that preschoolers who play interactive computer games have better motor skills than those who do not. The discovery was made in a study analysing the link between electronic games and children's fundamental movement skills.
During the study, researchers monitored the physical activity levels and movement skills of 53 children aged between three and six years. old Then they asked the children's parents to provide a report of the time each child spent playing on interactive consoles such as Nintendo Wii and Eyetoy, as well as non-interactive consoles such as Nintendo DS and Gameboy.
Among the 53 students sampled, 23 percent played interactive games.
The study found that children who spent more time playing interactive electronic games were more competent in object control skills, such as kicking, catching, rolling, and bouncing a ball, but there was no association with locomotive skills such as hopping, jumping and running.
The findings have been published in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills.
Dr Lisa Barnett, of Deakin University's School of Health and Social Development, said that interactive games encourage object control skills, although she admitted that the research team "cannot say why" there is such an obvious correlation.
Dr Barnett added: "What our findings do point to is a need to investigate further, to determine if playing these games improves object control skills, or if children with greater object control skill proficiency prefer and play these games."