Effects of video-game ownership on young boys' academic and behavioral functioning: a randomized, controlled study

Psychol Sci. 2010 Apr;21(4):463-70. doi: 10.1177/0956797610362670. Epub 2010 Feb 18.


Young boys who did not own video games were promised a video-game system and child-appropriate games in exchange for participating in an "ongoing study of child development." After baseline assessment of boys' academic achievement and parent- and teacher-reported behavior, boys were randomly assigned to receive the video-game system immediately or to receive the video-game system after follow-up assessment, 4 months later. Boys who received the system immediately spent more time playing video games and less time engaged in after-school academic activities than comparison children. Boys who received the system immediately also had lower reading and writing scores and greater teacher-reported academic problems at follow-up than comparison children. Amount of video-game play mediated the relationship between video-game ownership and academic outcomes. Results provide experimental evidence that video games may displace after-school activities that have educational value and may interfere with the development of reading and writing skills in some children.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Child
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities / psychology*
  • Male
  • Reading
  • Social Behavior*
  • Video Games / adverse effects*
  • Video Games / psychology
  • Writing