Study Suggests Video Games Might Be Beneficial to Teen Girls

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Study Suggests Video Games Might Be Beneficial to Teen Girls

Thanks to a study found in the Journal of Adolescent Health, teenage girls have even more of an excuse to play video games now.

That is, if they are willing to play with their parents.

The study was recently published in the journal by a psychology professor, Sarah Coyne, at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.  She was inspired by watching her sisters play video games with their mother.

287 families were interviewed in their homes for the study.  They were questioned about their child’s video game habits, parental involvement with video games and their child’s behavior.  Both girls and boys were examined in the study, with the age range from 11 to 16 years old.

The study concluded that teen girls had lower levels of depression, anxiety and agressive behavior when they played age-appropriate games with their parents on a regular occasion.  Unfortunately for teenage boys, there were no benefits found in this study.  This was attributed by the authors to the fact that boys were far more likely to play video games alone or with friends and not with their parents.

These findings are quite important for the argument regarding the psychological benefits of video games on teens.  A previous study found that teens who played more than 31 hours of video games a week were more likely to have increased aggression, depression and anxiety, on top of having lower grades in school.  This study shows that video games should not be a scapegoat to behavioral problems and that parents can do a lot to help their children succeed and feel good about themselves, with video games as a great medium to do so.  Basically, what the gaming community has been saying for a long, long time.

The authors of the study feel the benefit for girls lies in who they play the games with and what type of games are important to them.  The authors attribute the positive results for girls with the fact that the relationship with their fathers was strengthened by playing video games together (mothers in the study rarely reported playing video games).  Girls were far more likely to play games that were collaborative in nature, such as Rock Band and Mario Kart, which would encourage parental involvement in beneficial ways.  Boys were more inclined to play games that are deemed aggressive and competitive, such as Halo and Call of Duty.

In the end, this is a great study to prove that it’s not just video games that are related to behavioral problems in teens, but parental involvement definitely has a huge role.  It is unfortunate that benefits weren’t seen for male teens, but perhaps more studies will find what works best for them.  This also challenges the assumption that girls aren’t interested in video games, in fact it seems that many are, and getting a lot of great benefits from doing so.

This is also great news for those current and potential fathers out there who are gamers.  Play games with your daughter, it’s not only fun for the two of you but also helps her to feel good about herself.  And in a time where girls are frequently told they are never good enough, it is so important to have parents that challenge that on a regular basis.

[via Bloomberg]
[via Los Angeles Times]

Image via Wired