The Norwegian University of Science and Technology performed a study in which researchers discovered that playing video games as an adolescent had greater adverse effect on the developing social skills for young girls than boys.
Researchers studied 873 Norwegian children, checking in on them every 2 years. These “check-ins” included questioning parents and teachers about time spent gaming. The data collected about the development of the children studied found that 10 year old girls who were frequent gamers had lower social skills at age 12 compared to girls who rarely played.
The study found that factors that might lead a child to be socially inept might also drive them to play video games more often, putting the focus on problems outside of gaming rather than the video games themselves.
“It might be that poor social competence drives youth’s tendency to play video games for extended periods of time,” said study co-author Lars Wichstrøm. “That is, youth who struggle socially might be more inclined to play games to fulfill their need to belong and their desire for mastery because gaming is easily accessible and may be less complicated for them than face-to-face interactions.”
Overall, the authors believe that their study could help clear away some of the negative ideas around children playing video games.
Personally, I believe our children need to be more encouraged to put the controllers down and experience more of the “real world”, no matter how awkward that may be. Children are products of their environment. Sometimes, all it takes is a little push!