So imagine my surprise when I was going through my daily science alerts and came across this newly published, peer reviewed, ZOMG it's real science, science article on PLOS ONE: "Positive Association of Video Game Playing with Left Frontal Cortical Thickness in Adolescents." Here's the tl;dr for you and your mother/spouse/significant other.
Video gaming makes your brain bigger.
Or, at least it makes an adolescent's brain bigger. Here's the area of the brain they're talking about.
So how much bigger are gamer's brains than non-gamers brains. Well, not so much as you might hope. But it's significant enough to warrant a peer reviewed article, hey! Here's the actual graphs correlating time spent gaming with actual thickening of the brain folds highlighted above.
I think my favorite paragraph from the article is this one,
Socioeconomic background, approximated by means of the highest education of the parents, did not influence the association between video gaming hours per week and cortical thickness in DLFPC and FEF; when partialing out parental education the correlations were still significant (DLPFC: r(149) = 0.317, p<0.001; FEF: r(149) = 0.289, p<0.001).
The benefits of gaming cross economic boundaries. That to me says it isn't necessarily the "quality" of the game you play, but just the fact you play video games that matters. I've long felt playing video games was beneficial in this way, and not a waste of time. This is just the latest in clinical studies that show gaming does a brain good. But like anything else, taken to an extreme it probably isn't healthy. Except I write that and can't help but see the results above that 60 hour a week mark on the X axis. :-D