By Eddie Fitzmaurice November 17 2002 Computer games, the internet and television are making today's children more intelligent than any previous generation, researchers have found. Contrary to popular belief, children's IQ levels are being raised to record highs because of stimulation from electronic entertainment. Psychologists from Cornell University in New York found that IQ levels among young people were now about 25 points higher than their grandparents' generation. The gap between children and their parents' generation is about 15 points. Ulric Nesser, who led the study, attributed the change to the increasing complexity of modern life and the fact that children interact with electronic gadgets and entertainment from an early age. Activities most likely to boost the IQ included computer gaming, which tended to involve complex and highly structured thought processes, and use of the internet for research. Improved nutrition in developed countries, such as the US, Britain and Australia, also played a part in helping the brain adapt to these external stimulants, Professor Nesser said. However, the research found, however, that the advance in juvenile intellect was not evenly spread. While scores in the abstract reasoning and thinking portions of IQ tests had improved by about seven points in each of the past two decades, verbal and mathematical skills were virtually unchanged. Other experts welcomed the findings, but warned that the advances might not last unless there was constant stimulation. George Erdos, a senior lecturer in psychology at Newcastle-upon-Tyne University in England, said he had no doubt modern computer gaming was positive for youngsters. "Computer games require perseverance, fast thinking and rapid learning," Dr Erdos said. But Bill Dickens, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, said other research had indicated that a person's IQ tended to slip back when computers and other gadgets were withdrawn. He warned: "IQ is very plastic. The brain seems to be like a muscle and needs regular and vigorous exercise. If our theory is right, when it comes to IQ it's a case of use it or lose it." Neil Turok, a professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge University in England , said computers were a powerful resource, but he warned they could stifle independent thought. Professor Turok stressed: "A lot of kids are on the computer too much. "The danger with a computer is you become rather dumb from doing repetitive tasks. "In the end, computers are no substitute for imagination."