Co-author of the study, Robert Weis, a psychologist from Denison University in Ohio, United States, said, "For children without games, scores go up over time."
Weis added, "For boys with games, scores remain relatively stable. You don't see the typical development in reading and writing."
Details of study
The scientists conducted a study on young children in between the ages of 6 to 9 years looking at the short-term effects of owning a video console on the academic development of the child and found that boys with access to video games are slow learners when it comes to both reading and math.
For the study, Weis and team selected 64 young children to take part in his study. Half of them were given a PlayStation II, while the other half were forbidden to play video games. They were, however, promised a video-game system four months later, at the end of the experiment.
The subjects involved in the study had no history of behavioral or learning problems or disabilities.
Results of the study
Interestingly, the researchers found that the group which had access to PlayStation II did not pick up on reading or math skills as quickly as the second group, which wasn't exposed to video games at all.
Also, there were no differences in parent-reported behavioral problems between the two groups of children; the boys who received the video-game system immediately had greater teacher-reported learning problems.
Weis, however said that there is need for another study on the effects of long-term ownership of video consoles.
"Maybe after a year they become less interested or don't play them as often," Weis said, although the boys in his study did not show any drop off in the four months.”
Overall, the researchers urged the parents to provide children with a variety of after-school activities, limiting time spent on watching TV and video games.
The study was published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Video games and effects
Introduced in 1970s, video games have now become an invariable source of fun and entertainment for children.
The positive aspects of video games could be that they are interactive and some have educational content.
However, there is said to be a direct correlation between poor academic performance (spending more time playing consoles and ignoring studies) and playing video games.
It also has negative effects on the physical health of children such as obesity, muscular diseases etc.