Here is interesting news for any parents out there who are concerned about some of the effects that playing video games might have on their children…a new study (link to short version) by Linda Jackson, professor of psychology at Michigan State University, concluded that “children who played videogames more were more creative, by every measure, than children who played them less…”
The study (link to long version) analyzed several different measurable aspects of creativity in relation to four different kinds of technology use in a sample of about 500 12-year-olds. Children who played video games scored much higher in all the categories of creativity than those who did not.
The study also concluded that the link between creativity and video games didn’t depend on the kind of video games children played, whether it was a violent video game, an action/adventure game, a racing/driving game, a sports game, an interpersonal game, or some other type of game, although children who preferred racing/driving games scored slightly lower in two of the creativity-measuring categories.
It is important to note that the authors of the study said that the study cannot be used to prove cause-and-effect relationships between video games and creativity. That is to say that it cannot be proven at this time whether video games cause creativity or if creative people are the ones who play video games.
So, the good news? There’s a definite link between creativity and playing video games.
The better news? Take some time to spend with your child to see some evidence of that creativity for yourself. A great way to do that is to do some reading with your children and then ask them questions about the story that requires them to use their creativity. Why did Little Red Riding Hood like the color red so much? Why did the family have to live so far away from the grandmother? What would have happened if she had gotten lost in the forest on her way to the grandmother’s house? This will help your kids become active thinkers, it will let their creativity flourish, and it will be time spent together that everyone can enjoy.
Article information: Jackson, L. A., et al. Information technology use and creativity: Findings from the Children and Technology Project. Computers in Human Behavior (2011), doi:10.1016/j.chb.2011.10.006