According to a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, gaming may be good for teen girls' mental health — so long as they play with their parents.
Although most past research has consistently shown that video games can be detrimental to teens' mental well-being, the new study of 287 families by researchers from Brigham Young University suggests that the nature of play makes a difference. Researchers found that girls aged 11 to 16 who played video games with a parent reported better behavior, more feelings of familial closeness and less aggression than girls who played alone or with friends.
"It's the face-to-face time, the interaction, that matters," lead author and psychology professor Sarah Coyne told the Wall Street Journal. "Video games are kind of an adolescent thing. When a parent says I'm going to sit down and do what you're going to do, that sends a different message entirely."
However, the study found that while both boys and girls spent an
equal amount of time gaming with a parent, boys didn't reap the same
behavioral or mental benefits. The authors theorized that because boys
play more video games than girls overall, any time spent playing with a
parent likely accounted for a smaller, less meaningful percentage of
their overall screen time.