The Journal of Adolescent Health just published a study which found that girls actually benefit from video game time with their parents or family. The study was conducted by Brigham Young University researchers and focused on adolescent girls between the ages of 11 and 16 that played video games with one or both parents. The results of the study showed that girls who played video games with their parent (s) generally had better family connections, were better behaved and were mentally healthier.
I personally find this study to be intriguing because I always played video games with my parents when I was younger. At first, it was on the Nintendo system and the games we played ranged from the Mario series to action games like Contra and Super C. When I was a little older, I used to play PlayStation with my father. By this time I was right in the age bracket involved in this study and I have always had a very healthy relationship with my parents. Perhaps our video game time contributed to that relationship.
Shockingly, the study also showed that, for boys, playing video games with a parent had little, if any, benefits.
The girls involved in the study chose games such as Mario Brothers, Mario Kart, Guitar Hero and Rock Band, while boys generally favored action games such as Halo and Call of Duty.
Researchers discovered that the connection between daughters playing video games with their fathers played a big factor in the results of the study. Mothers were not as likely as fathers to play video games. By co-playing with their children, fathers are indicating higher levels of involvement.
What is also interesting is that girls on average do not play video games as much as boys do, but girls that played with their parents spent the same amount of time playing as boys as long as their parents were involved.
Statistics from the Entertainment Software Association revealed that 40 percent of video gamers are girls. This statistic is surprising to a lot of people who believe that mainly boys are attracted to video games. According to the ESA, 48% of parents actually do play video games with their kids at least one time each week and about 67% of households in America either have a video game console or use their computer for entertainment type software.
More information that was gathered from this study is that those between the ages of 11 and 16 chose M-rated games as their favorite. This statistic is a bit unsettling to parents since M-rated games are technically geared toward adults, but it is the responsibility of parents to look into game content and whether or not the video game is appropriate should be decided upon by the entire family.
Overall, video games have been getting a bad reputation among parents because they believe kids are playing them too much. Perhaps if you play with your children, you will be better able to control what exactly they are playing and how long they are playing. Video games can really be a great way to spend time together as a family.
Shipley, D. 2011. Girls Benefit From Family Video Game Time.