Link between video game use and worse GCSE results found


A study which looked at 600 students in Northern Ireland aged 14 to 16 years, between 2012 and 2014, has found a link between video game use and poorer GCSE results.

For children who used a portable gaming device less than once a week, 77 per cent of them achieved a minimum of five GCSEs at grade A* to C. This is considerably more than for children who used them at least twice a day, where only 41 per cent achieved at least five A* to C grades.

The research does not establish exactly why results worsened the more a student played video games, however. According to the study, social media use does not impact GCSE performance.

This was quite an interesting conclusion, as 81 per cent of the teenagers involved in the survey said they used social media on a daily basis, often for several hours. There was also no statistically significant link between exam performance and mobile or tablet use.

The National Children’s Bureau Northern Ireland (NCBNI) research revealed a number of findings. Four in ten young people spend at least four hours online in their GCSE year, with this mainly involving recreational activities, as 43 per cent revealed they spent less than one hour daily using their computer for homework.

For the best GCSE exam results, it appears that spending approximately three hours each day using a computer to do homework is best. For those who said they did this, 79 per cent achieved five grades of A* to C.

“Our research shows that using a computer for homework can help pupils consolidate learning and do better in exams,” said Celine McStravick, of the NCBNI.

“So, schools should be regularly setting homework that requires the use of a computer and the internet. Similarly, we need parents and carers to step in and limit the excessive amounts of time spent gaming.”

‘ICT and Me’ is the first long-term study conducted in Northern Ireland which considers the impact ICT use has on a student’s GCSE performance.