In news that should make anyone with a daughter or sister rejoice, playing video games with their parents is believed to benefit young girls. Researchers from Brigham Young University recently studied video games and their effects on children between the ages of 11 and 16, and girls in particular responded well to participating in the activity with their parents.
There’s no end of speculation concerning the impact gaming has on children and young adults. Recently, a two-year study concluded that video games intensified the conditions of socially and emotionally challenged children, and claimed participants illustrated addict behavior. However, since 2005 the American Medical Association has determined that video game addiction is not a formally recognized illness. And last year, researchers from Texas A&M found that violent video games can actually curb hostile tendencies.
What is significant about BYU’s study is that it singles out how gaming affects girls: Girls that game (provided the games are age-appropriate and played with a parent) have better behavior and lower rates of depression. Interestingly, when girls played games rated M, it negatively impacted their reactions. Mario Kart, Mario Brothers, Wii Sports, Rock Band, and Guitar Hero were (unsurprisingly) most popular with girls, whereas Call of Duty, Wii Sports, and Halo were boys’ top choices. Boys, who were found to play alone or with friends more, didn’t experience the same benefits.
While girls’ reaction significantly improved when partnered with a parent, boys were unaffected. Researchers reason this could be due to the amount boys play with other friends, and will continue to study this factor as they continue the project. “We’re guessing it’s a daddy-daughter thing, because not a lot of moms said yes when we asked them if they played video games,” co-author of the study Laura Padilla-Walker says. “Co-playing is probably an indicator of larger levels of involvement.”