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Keep playing that computer game?

There used to be a general feeling that computer games were bad for you, and books were good. Now people are not sure. Researchers have found that computer games, television and the Internet have become key factors in boosting children’s IQs up to levels never reached by past generations.

The idea that intelligence can be measured was first suggested about a century ago, but at that time it was hard to find tests that gave useful results. Over the past two decades, however, tests have become more subtle and complex and researchers have found that IQ socres can give a good indication of what children’s future exam results will be. Some experts as Michael J.A. Howe  have even claimed that IQ scores can accurately predict what level of income and status young people will achieve in adult life. According to Michael Howe:

“Scientists are attributing the change in intelligence levels to the complex of modern life”

In today’s fast-moving world, Young people are required to interact constantly with electronic gadgets and equipment. According to Bryan Leech, research has shown that they are constantly exposed to an increasingly complex and visual world – a world far more stimulating than previous generations lived in. This developing youngsters’ brains in ways that older generations never experienced. Computers are one of the major sources of stimulation, and activities such as playing games and using the Internet seem to be particularly important.

Although this is clearly good new, following George Boeree’s idea the surging popularity of computer gaming and other activities has caused concern in some quarters. Firstly, there have been claims that the high levels of violence in the games could encourage children to be aggressive. There have also been fears that children could become addicted to the games, and so be unable to stop playing them. But a recent study found no reliable evidence to prove that computer games contribute to long-term violence or anti-social behaviour.

Indeed, it has been claimed that, in moderation computer gaming is positively good for youngsters. It requires positive qualities such as perseverance, fast thinking and rapid learning. However, it seems that improvements in IQ may not last very long without continuing stimulation. The brain seems to be like a muscle and requires repeated and vigorous exercise to stay fit and healthy. When it comes to IQ, it’s a case of “Use it or lose it”.


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