This Type of Play can Connect Families
Researchers from Brigham Young University have found that the time that dads and their adolescent daughters spend playing age-appropriate video games has positive outcomes. Girls who co-played with a parent (it’s usually the dad), felt a stronger connection to their families, exhibited less aggressive behavior and showed signs of stronger mental health, such as less depression and anxiety, compared with female peers. The parents likewise described an enhanced feeling of connectedness.
However, lead study author Sarah Coyne, Ph.D., notes, “When girls played inappropriate games (rated M for Mature), their reported family-connection levels fell.” Popular age-appropriate videos include Wii Sports, Rock Band, Mario Kart, Mario Party and Super Mario Bros.
Surprisingly, the results discerned with girls ages 11 through 16 do not apply to adolescent boys. The researchers surmise that this may be because boys tend to play video games more often than girls, mostly without a parent present, so a few more hours with a parent has less of an impact. Other studies have shown that boys also tend to play more violent games than girls.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids should be allowed no more than two hours of non-school-related screen time a day, and get at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity.