Girls benefit from playing video games with parents

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Washington, Feb 1 (ANI): Researchers from Brigham Young University's School of Family Life have found that girls who play video games with a parent enjoy a number of advantages - the behave better, feel more connected to their families and have stronger mental health.

Professor Sarah Coyne is the lead author of the study, conducted on video games and children between 11 and 16 years old.

"The surprising part about this for me is that girls don't play video games as much as boys," Coyne said. "But they did spend about the same amount of time co-playing with a parent as boys did."

The findings come with one important caveat: The games had to be age-appropriate. If the game was rated M for mature, it weakened the statistical relationship between co-playing and family connectedness.

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 was not a statistically significant factor for any of the outcomes the researchers measured (positive behavior, aggression, family connection, mental health). Yet for girls, playing with a parent accounted for as much as 20 percent of the variation on those measured outcomes.

Coyne and her co-author Laura Padilla-Walker offer two possible explanations for what's behind the gender differences.

"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," Padilla-Walker said. "Co-playing is probably an indicator of larger levels of involvement."

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.

The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health. (ANI)

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