Video games may actually be beneficial in the development of children, it’s been revealed.

The admission comes as families across the country enter their ninth week of lockdown, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

It has meant social activities outside the home have been restricted, leading to an increase in quizzes and video game usage.

There has even been a global shortage of the Nintendo Switch console for over a month as a result of families buying the device in preparation for lockdown boredom – as well as supply chains reacting to the virus.

And whilst some parents may be concerned about their children’s interest in the likes of Fortnite and Apex Legends, new research has found that this thrilling hobby may actually be good for them.

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The study, which was one of the largest intelligence experiments of its kind, was featured in BBC’s The Great British Intelligence Test earlier this month and involved TV doctor Michael Mosley.

Discussing the findings on video games, the 63-year-old explained on BBC Radio last week that he had “always kind of regarded them as a waste of time.”

He however was left “surprised” following the results of the study, which measured different aspects of intelligence – including what’s known as ‘working memory.’

Dr Mosley, who is credited with popularising the 5:2 diet, explained: “This is the ability to hold more than one thing in your mind at the same time.”

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For example, if you’re being given directions, you have to remember where you’re trying to go but also listen to how to get there.

“This is actually a surprisingly good marker of your overall ability to cope with life and get on with school,” the 63-year-old revealed.

As part of the intelligence study, researchers tested the working memory of participants and asked a number of questions – including how much time they spent playing online games.

Dr. Mosley commented that he then found “a very strong correlation” between how well people did on the working memory test and how much time they spent gaming.

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He added: “It’s particularly the games where you have to kind of run around a lot, shoot things and dodge things.”

Parents will know that this description certaintly fits with popular games such as Fortnite and Apex Legends.

The 63-year-old said he is now unable to criticise his son for playing video games during lockdown because “maybe it’s actually doing bits of his brain some good” – with Dr. Mosley adding that even he was “tempted briefly” to try gaming.

Gaming expert Louise Blain said that the study was “encouraging” and highlights the benefits of video games, particularly at the moment.

She explained: “Gaming, as the current lockdown is proving, is a wonderful social and developmental tool.”

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The technology journalist added that a variety of different games can be beneficial, whether it’s a puzzle game or a first-person shooter experience.

Discussing the latter, she explained that such games are “great for your reactions and learning maps,” and may also provide coping mechanisms to benefit the player in their real-life.

She explained: “Even for dealing with stressful situations in real life, you can actually find that easier because you’ve spent a long time dying repeatedly in a video game.

“You’ve actually learned ways to cope with that because you want to win.”

Horizon: The Great British Intelligence Test is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.