February 2, 2011

Video Games Are Good For Girls

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Dads who dig gaming now have justification "¦ but only if they have a daughter. According to this study, girls who played video games with a parent behaved better, felt more connected to their families, and had stronger mental health.

"The surprising part about this for me is that girls don't play video games as much as boys," Sarah Coyne, professor at Brigham Young University's School of Family Life and lead author of the study, was quoted as saying. "But they did spend about the same amount of time co-playing with a parent as boys did."

The only stipulation to the study was that the games had to be age appropriate. The children being studied ranged in age from 11 to 16. The games had to be rated lower than "M for Mature".

The study involved 287 families with an adolescent child. Mario Kart, Mario Brothers, Wii Sports, Rock Band and Guitar Hero topped the list of games played most often by girls. Call of Duty, Wii Sports and Halo ranked 1, 2 and 3 among boys.

For boys, playing with a parent wasn't statistically significant when the researchers measure positive behavior, aggression, family connection, and mental health. However, for girls, playing with a parent accounted for as much as 20 percent of the variation on those measured outcomes.

It's also possible that the time boys play with parents doesn't stand out as much because they spend far more time playing with friends. The researchers plan to explore the basis of these gender differences in more detail as they continue working on this project.

SOURCE: Journal of Adolescent Health, published online February 1, 2011