Everyone has an opinion on video games and the people who play them whether it's good or bad. Video games are mostly for entertainment, and normally a solitary activity. That's why many people seem to take issue with them. But there are ways (and games) to turn playing video games into a more positive time. A recent study shows that when dads play video games with their daughters, their daughter's sense of happiness increases.
Researchers at Brigham Young University in Utah surveyed 287 adolescent kids (between the ages of 11 and 16) and their parents. Both mothers and fathers participated in the survey, answering questions about video game habits and family. How the kids do in school and their behavioral habits were also part of the parent's questionnaire.
What they found is that on average, girls play video games with their parents about once a month. And 46 percent never play video games with their parents. For the girls who do play with a parent, even if it is only once a month, there are many positives. If they're playing age-appropriate games (an important differentiating factor) with their parent (more often than not the dad) they're better off when it comes to behavior. They also feel more of a connection to their families and are less aggressive. Also, they are less likely to be depressed.
"I think we can encourage more parents to play video games with their kids, especially age-appropriate games," Laura Padilla-Walker, one of the researchers of the study told LiveScience. "It's just another way to be involved with your kids."
So often, the talk around video game play and adolescent kids is negative. Some arguments include that the games isolate them from their friends and family and that the games are too violent. A lot of these feelings are attached to how video games affect boys, according to the research from Brigham Young. While 45 percent of boys play video games with their parents, they're not usually age appropriate. "Both boys and girls play the same amount of time with their parents, but boys spend a lot more time playing video games in general," says Sarah Coyne, another researcher on the study.
It's worth noting that this study only shows how video game playing time and children's behavior correlates. It doesn't show if one directly causes the other. Some of the games the study found that correlate to happy girls are Mario Kart, Guitar Hero and Wii Sports. So gamer dads, get your girls more involved.