On the impact of digital media on childhood intelligence, games and watching videos were consistent with cognitive benefits. Socializing digitally, however, had no consistent effect.
Here we estimated the effect of each three types of screen time (Watching TV and online videos, Socializing via social media, text, and video chat, and Gaming) on intelligence after accounting for each other's screen type, socioeconomic status, and genetic predisposition for intelligence. Our most important finding was that Gaming positively impacted the amount of change in intelligence so that children who played more video games at 9–10 years showed the most gains in intelligence two years later. This was also true for Gaming in absolute values (not correcting for time spent video watching and socializing) and did not differ between boys and girls. Surprisingly, Watching also showed a positive effect on the change in intelligence, and, much less shocking, Socializing had no effect.