Melbourne: Parents, take note! Teenagers who regularly play online video games may have improved school results while spending time on social networking sites such as Facebook could do the opposite, a new study has claimed.
School students who visit Facebook or chat sites every day are more likely to fall behind in maths, reading and science, the study found. Alberto Posso, a professor at RMIT University in Australia tested more than 12,000 15-year-olds in maths, reading and science, as well as collected data on the students' online activities.
According to Posso, video games could help students to apply and sharpen skills learned at school. "Students who play online games almost every day score 15 points above the average in maths and 17 points above the average in science," said Posso.
"When you play online games you are 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 have been taught during the day," he added.
Teachers should consider incorporating popular video games into teaching - so long as they are not violent ones, Posso said.
The study also found that teenagers who used Facebook or chat every day scored 20 points worse in maths than students who never used social media.
"Students who are regularly on social media are, of course, losing time that could be spent on study - but it may also indicate that they are struggling with maths, reading and science and are going online to socialise instead," said Posso.
Teachers should blend the use of Facebook into their classes as a way of helping those students engage, he said. The findings were published in the International Journal of Communication.