One of the craziest culture changes for Dads of a certain age has been the attitude towards gaming. Once the scourge of pearl-clutchers everywhere, video games were blamed for everything from falling grades to violent crimes. Now, we have professional gamers, Dad gamers, proof that playing together with your kids is good, and more.
The latest is a research study that found boys who regularly play video games at age 11 were less likely to develop depression years later. The study, published by Psychological Medicine, found that boys who played video games most days had 24 percent fewer depression symptoms three years later than boys who rarely played video games. This finding was most significant among boys with low activity levels, so it’s not suggesting you can’t make your kids run around all day in the backyard if that’s what they like to do.
What it IS saying, though, is that if you have a kid that’s not super active, playing video games is not a bad recreation. They’ve been proven to help problem-solving skills and have added social and cooperative benefits. Video games aren’t bad anymore, is the point.
Boys who play video games have lower depression risk
The study, published in Psychological Medicine, also found that girls who spend more time on social media appear to develop more depressive symptoms.https://t.co/kYahysRa4E
— Melanie Notkin (@SavvyAuntie) February 22, 2021
Caveat; anything can be bad in excess, obviously if your kids are playing 18 hours of Fortnite a day, that *may* be something to look into. But if your kid likes some gaming time, well join the dang club.
“While we cannot confirm whether playing video games actually improves mental health, it didn’t appear harmful in our study and may have some benefits,” the lead author of the study said. “Particularly during the pandemic, video games have been an important social platform for young people.”
Video games can benefit the mental health of children is the takeaway. But let’s not think they are just for kids, as the many, many people of The Dad Gaming Group can tell you, those mental health benefits are out there for anyone who can get in some quality time on Rocket League, Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, FIFA, Red Dead Redemption II, or whatever your distraction of choice may be.
Encourage your kids to be active, sure, have screen time rules, of course. But also remember, no matter what people in their 60s say, it’s not the devil.