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NEWS: Playing Video Games Helps Parent/Daughter Relationships

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Calling all girl gamers— turn on the TV and pass the controllers! Research suggests playing video games with mom and dad has behavioral benefits for girls that might improve parent/daughter relationships. Girl power? More like girl pwner!

She’s Got Game — Analysis

In the study, playing age-appropriate, interactive video games (such as Mario Kart and Rock Band, two of the most popular games amongst girls) with parents was linked to improved social relations and decreased aggressiveness in adolescent females [1]. Researchers suggest this "co-play" can strengthen feelings of parent-daughter connectedness and improve familial relationships. The same findings, however, were not found in adolescent males, whose favorite games tended to be single-player quests like Call of Duty and Halo. And even though the girls in the study didn’t play video games as often as boys, they did spend about the same amount of playing games with their parents. Looks like some Mario and Luigi action can help people IRL (that’s “in real life” in geek-speak).

But don't start up the Xbox marathon just yet. Playing too many video games, especially violent ones, has been linked to harmful social relationships, aggressive behavior, and a drop in school performance for both sexes [2]. And, of course, adopting Mr. Wii isn’t the only way to strengthen parent-child connections. Stronger relationships can be forged through a variety of shared activities, from classic Monopoly to a game of catch. Indeed, the researchers suggest bonding over something both adolescents and adults enjoy— as opposed to anything video game-specific— might be the more important takeaway for parents.

TL;DR

A recent study suggests playing video games together can strengthen parent-daughter relationships.

Works Cited

  1. Playing prosocial video games increases the accessibility of prosocial thoughts. Greitemeyer, T., Osswald, S. University of Innsbruck, Psychology Department, Innsbruck, Austria. The Journal of Social Psychology. 2011 Mar-Apr; 151(2):121-8
  2. Association between television, movie, and video game exposure and school performance. Sharif, I., Sargent, JD. Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital at Montefiore/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York. Pediatrics. 2006 Oct; 118(4):e1061-70.