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Video games 'can be good for children'

Playing video games for less than an hour a day can lead to children becoming better adjusted, a study has found.

The research, carried out by Oxford University, found that young people who indulged in a little video game-playing were associated with the highest levels of sociability and were most likely to say they were satisfied with their lives compared with those who had never played or who used video games for three hours or more.

Those who spent more than half their daily free time playing electronic games were not as well-adjusted.

But the findings showed that the influence of video games on youngsters - whether for good or bad - is very small when compared with more "enduring" factors, such as whether the child is from a functioning family, their school relationships and whether they are materially deprived.

It also found no positive or negative effects for those who played "moderately" (between one and three hours a day).

The study of 10 to 15-year-olds, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that three in four British children and teenagers play video games on a daily basis. Those who play for less than an hour a day also have fewer friendship problems, and reported less hyperactivity than the other groups.