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Children who play computer games online perform better academically in science, maths and reading tests, new research has revealed.

A study found that students who played online games almost every day scored above-average at school. 

But teenagers who preferred social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter fared worse than their classmates with below average test scores, according to research published in the International Journal of Communication.

Researchers analysed data from over 12,000 school students in Australia, looking at the correlation between academic scores and the children’s personal interests and activities outside of school, including internet usage. 

Alberto Posso, an economist at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology who carried out the study, told The Times: “The puzzle-solving requirements of a lot of games, with players needing to finish complex tasks, can lead to people sharpening certain skills, particularly in reading comprehension, maths abilities and even physics or chemistry.”

But the cause of the association between game playing and academic success is not clear from the research. 

Professor Posso admitted it was uncertain if gaming leads to higher academic achievement or children who are better maths, science and reading are more attracted to games.

He added that making friends on Facebook could also be useful for a child’s career.