Why your child could be slipping at school

Is Pokemon Go good for you? A study says video games help students' problem-solving skills. Photo / AP
Is Pokemon Go good for you? A study says video games help students' problem-solving skills. Photo / AP

Children who regularly use Facebook and other online social networks tend to perform less well in school than those who use them rarely, new research has shown.

A study of more than 12,000 15-year-olds found there was the equivalent of several grades difference between the reading, maths and science results of students who were heavy users of social media and those who were not.

However, pupils who went online to play video games, rather than to chat, tended to perform better in schools because the activity enabled them to "apply and sharpen" problem-solving skills used in the classroom.

The research by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology found that the maths performance of those who accessed social networks on a daily basis was 20 points lower than students who never went online to chat.

But the data, published in the International Journal of Communication, showed that the effect could be substantially reversed by online gaming, with daily players scoring 15 points above the average in maths and reading and 17 points above in science.

Professor Alberto Posso, the report's author, said: "When you play online games you're solving puzzles to move to the next level and that involves using some of the general knowledge and skills in maths, reading and science that you've been taught during the day.

"Teachers should consider incorporating popular video games into teaching - so long as they're not violent ones."

Posso also encouraged schools to exploit the overwhelming popularity of social media with teenagers by finding ways to incorporate sites, and in particular Facebook, into their teaching.

Data from the communications watchdog Ofcom in 2015 revealed that people in the UK aged between 16 and 24 spend on average more than 27 hours a week on the internet.

Previous research has warned about possible negative effects such as depression and social isolation, however scientists have also linked ballooning of internet among teenagers use with positive trends in teenage pregnancy and drug taking.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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