We don’t normally consider playing video games to be the best things for our kids. But a recent study from Brigham Young University’s School of Family which was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health had some surprising results that pointed out not just some beneficial aspects to playing video games, but that these beneficial aspects only applied to girls.

The study followed 287 kids ages 11 – 16 and their parents. Through a series of video game, behavioral, and family-related questionnaires they obtained information about each child’s behavior both at home and at school.

Initial results showed that the time kids spent playing video games alone was associated with a number of negative behaviors including heightened internalizing and aggressive behavior and lowered prosocial behavior.  But when the kids were playing video games with their parents, or co-playing they found decreased levels of internalizing and aggressive behaviors, and heightened prosocial behavior, but only in the girls. The boys showed no difference in behavior whether they were playing or co-playing their video games.

But that’s not all! Not only did co-playing age appropriate games with parents (mainly dad) cause a decrease in negative behaviors in girls, but it actually caused an increase in a number of positive behaviors. The girls who were co-playing age-appropriate video games felt more connected with their family, they were less likely to be depressed and just better behaved in general. According to the study 20 percent of the difference in the outcomes could be attributed to the game playing.

The games that were most positively linked with the happier girls included Mario Kart, Wii Sports and Guitar Hero.

This study doesn’t show that co-playing video games with dad (or mom) causes a child’s happiness, but it does offer scientific proof that the two are linked.

We here at SheHeroes feel that this survey further proves that simply spending positive time with your daughter, or the young girl in your life, can have an immediate and positive impact on her life.

So the next time you see your daughter eyeing the Wii sit down and play with her. Sharing laughter, conversation and just time with her can be the best thing you can do for your daughter.

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