• Question: Have you found any correlation between time spent online gaming and attention in class?

    Asked by tyrrellt to Victoria, Paul, Mike, Iroise, Gaia on 28 Feb 2018.
    • Photo: Mike Hobbiss

      Mike Hobbiss answered on 28 Feb 2018:

      Hi. So online gaming isn’t something that I collect data on personally (I have collected data on media multitasking – combining different media sources simultaneously, but that’s a little different). What the research seems to show is that there are some specific attention-related tasks that action video players actually do better at (e.g. Green, C. S., & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention.

      On the whole however there has been an association between lots of video gaming and attention problems (e.g. Gentile, D. A., Swing, E. L., Lim, C. G., & Khoo, A. (2012). Video game playing, attention problems, and impulsiveness: Evidence of bidirectional causality. but it is important to say that it is NOT at all clear which causes which – perhaps attention problems lead people to game more

      So we can’t really say for certain that it’s a bad thing for attention in school. in general a lot of the very negative predictions about ‘screen time’ etc haven’t really been backed up by research. I would suggest that if there is someone playing a lot of video games who is having trouble concentrating in class, it is more likely due to the fact that they aren’t getting enough sleep than because of the video games themselves!