BBC News is reporting that an Oxford University study has found that playing video games for a short time each day may positively impact child development, while playing for extended periods every day may lead to lower life satisfaction.

Published in the journal Pediatrics, the study involved 5,000 children between the ages of 10 and 15, 75 percent of whom stated that they played video games, either on a console or computer, every day. The subjects were asked how much time they spend gaming on an average school day, and then asked to rate themselves on a variety of factors, including satisfaction with their lives, social interactions, how likely they were to help someone in trouble and concentration.

When compared to other groups, including those who played no games, children who play games for less than an hour a day were the most well-adjusted, displaying the highest level of life satisfaction and positive social interactions. This group also demonstrated lower levels of hyperactivity and fewer emotional issues than the other groups.

Conversely, subjects who played video games for over three hours a day were the least well-adjusted.

It’s an interesting study, and one that better reflects the significant, but not overriding influence games have on child development than many studies that either demonize games or portray them as a vital part of development.

Unfortunately, the study says nothing about how staying up until 4:00 AM playing Minecraft affects 38 year-old freelance writers, but I’ve got my own study going on that subject. Early results: not super-great. [That certainly explains a lot. - Ed.]