Playing Video Games Generally Not Harmful to Boys' Social Development

Posted on June 7, 2019

The effect of gaming on children and adolescents have been widely debated, leading to the belief that video games have an adverse effect on the socio-emotional development of the younger generation. A study was conducted by Norwegian researchers from various fields to investigate the consequences of playing video games on the social skills of children from 6 to 12 years old.

873 Norwegian youths from varying socioeconomic backgrounds took part in the longitudinal study that lasted for six years. The amount of time spent playing video games and questionnaires on social competence were reported either by the children themselves or their parents. Gender, body-mass index (BMI) and the amount of time spent gaming with friends were also important factors that were taken into consideration for this research. However, it should be noted that the amount of time spent gaming may not be accurately reported.

Results indicated the amount of time boys spent gaming is independent of their social skills. On the other hand, 10-year-old girls who played video games more frequently exhibited poorer social skills after two years. Playing video games may result in social isolation in girls, causing them to lack practice in social situations. This will in turn affect their social competence in the future. Furthermore, the study found that children who less socially adept when they are 8 to 10 years old tend to game more when they reach 10 to 12 years old.

Researchers explained that social isolation could be one of the possible reasons why certain youths are inclined to spend long hours gaming. This is because as compared to participating in social situations, gaming is less complex for children who face difficulties socializing and it also fulfills their need to belong. Overall, gaming is not associated with social development, although it has different impacts on children of different age and gender.

Category(s):Child Development, Social Isolation

Source material from Science Daily

Mental Health News