Internet and Videogames Improve Reading Skills and Visual Spatial Skills in Children

Well yes, but only for those children initially low in these skills. Gender, race and income did not influence the relationship between videogaming, Internet use and academic performance in children.
Computers and Internet access are available in almost all schools in the US, 87% of children between 12 and 17 use the Internet, 71% of online youth in this age group rely on the Internet for school projects, 88% of the children believe they benefit from Internet for school performance, 34% downloaded study aides from the Internet, 57% used a home computer to complete school assignments.

But does the Internet and videogaming benefit academic performance in children?

They studied this question in 482 youth form 20 middle schools spread throughout the southern lower peninsula of Michigan. They measured twice during the first and second year. Besides the above mentioned conclusions it found videogaming improving visual spatial skills but it negatively influenced academic performance. Mostly so for those who were doing well on academic performance, for those with below average of average performance on academic performance videogaming looses it’s impact on academic performance over time.

So if your child has below average reading skills Internet use can improve it, the same for visual spatial skills. For those with average or above average Internet and videogaming don’t seem to improve their skills, videogaming may have an negative effect on academic performance over time for those with above average academic performance. Since Internet and even videogaming seem to become part of everyday live for children the most important concern to my opinion is not them using Internet or videogaming but getting them outside and play and exercise, what do you think?

ResearchBlogging.org
Jackson, L., von Eye, A., Witt, E., Zhao, Y., & Fitzgerald, H. (2010). A longitudinal study of the effects of Internet use and videogame playing on academic performance and the roles of gender, race and income in these relationships Computers in Human Behavior DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2010.08.001