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Girl Gamers More At Risk Than Boys: Parental Monitoring Needed

January 24, 2011 at 3:06 PM

online gameGiven the proliferation of teen gamers out there, Yale researchers were curious about what types of behaviors gaming was most often associated with. Out of the 4,028 respondents in the study, 2,064 of them (51.2%) reported playing at least an hour of video games per week. Here’s what they found about those kids.

    • Boys were much more likely (76.3%) to be gamers than girls (29.2%)
    • Gaming was significantly more prevalent in Asians and students with lower grades
    • Different behaviors were typical for male gamers versus female gamers

One of the most interesting parts of the study was that boys who played video games were more likely to have higher GPAs, never smoke, or never use marijuana. Aside from high caffeine consumption, there were no risky health behaviors associated with male gaming.

Not so for the female gaming set. Girls gamers were likely to smoke occasionally, get into physical fights, carry a weapon to school, and have a higher body mass index (BMI.) To their credit, female gaming also usually meant never having used marijuana, never having drunk alcohol, and less likelihood of depression.

Only about 5% of the gamers surveyed could be classified as “addicted” to video games. But of those addicted, there were also noticeable trends: addicted boys were likely to be regular smokers, depressed, and aggressive at school, while addicted girls were more prone to drug use, depression, and physical fights.

Remember that this study can only observe the correlation between behaviors, not tell us what caused what. Video game addiction doesn’t necessarily cause depression, and girls who play games aren’t necessarily going to become physically aggressive.

But parents, take this research into account when determining house rules and acceptable game play for your teens.

-Article Contributed by Jenny Evans

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Tim Woda

Written by Tim Woda

Tim Woda is an Internet safety expert, and a passionate advocate for empowering families and protecting children from today’s scariest digital dangers. Woda was on the founding team of buySAFE, an Internet trust and safety company, and he started working on child safety issues after his son was targeted by a child predator online. While his son was unharmed, the incident led Woda to kick-start uKnow.com. You can follow Tim on Twitter or on his blog.

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