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Tuesday
Feb012011

Quality Time Over Video Games May Strengthen Family Ties

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PROVO, Utah) -- Parents, and even some researchers, have long blamed video games for such problems as obesity, violence, depression and detachment from family and friends.

But Brigham Young University School of Family Life researchers stand by a positive notion that could surprise some people: video games may help strengthen the bond between parents and their daughters.

While some doctors would say video games and other sources of so-called screen time offer little if any health benefits, this study begs to differ.  The study found that girls who played video games with a parent behaved better, felt more connected to their families and had better mental health than those girls who did not play video games with their parents.

Researchers also found that these game-playing gals had lower levels of internalization of emotions and higher levels of social behavior with their family members than those who did not play video games with parents.  But, there was no evidence of such benefits with boys.

It is important to note that positive bonding time was only associated with age-appropriate video games.  Mario Kart, Mario Brothers, Wii Sports, Rock Band and Guitar Hero topped the list of games that girls most often played, while boys played Call of Duty, Wii Sports and Halo most often.

Researchers found that if the game was rated M for Mature, feelings of family connectedness weakened overall.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, included 287 families with a teen or tween-aged child.  Parents and kids filled out multiple surveys about their gaming habits, family processes and adolescent behavior.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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