Videogames help father/daughter bonds, says Science

A new study from Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life claims that videogames can help parents and kids bond – particularly fathers and daughters.

For her study, author Sarah M. Coyne Ph.D. polled 287 kids aged between 11 and 16 and their parents, asking them questions about various videogame, behavioral, and family-related issues. The goal? To see how co-playing games affected child/parent relationships. Turns out, games can help a parent/child relationship really blossom! Especially if we’re talking dads and daughters.

While boys showed no dramatic improvements in positive behaviour, girls who played games with Dad were better behaved, less aggressive, and demonstrated decreased levels of internalizing, a process that can lead to depression.

“When parents play video games with their daughters, they may be sending a myriad of messages. First, parents may show that they are willing to engage in an activity that is important to daughters. Second, playing video games can represent quality time between a daughter and a parent, especially when such play involves conversation between parent-child.”

Coyne goes on to argue that boys may not be as strongly influenced by parental involvement because they play more games, and more often than not with friends. But why dads? Well, one reason is that not many mothers admitted to playing games. Co-author Laura M. Padilla-Walker attempts to explain:

“We’re guessing it’s a daddy-daughter thing, because not a lot of moms said yes when we asked them if they played video games. Co-playing is probably an indicator of larger levels of involvement.”

Also of interest: the good vibes were only felt with adolescent females when the parents joined in on games aimed at younger players, such as Mario Kart, Mario Brothers, Wii Sports, Rock Band and Guitar Hero.

[Journal of Adolescent Health [PDF], via Kotaku]