Video games can erode ties with family and friends

January 24th, 2009 - 3:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 24 (IANS) Video games can erode young adults’ ties with family and friends.The finding, based on information from 813 college students, shows that as they devoted more time to video games, the quality of relationships with peers and parents went down.

The research was conducted by Brigham Young University undergraduate Alex Jensen and his faculty mentor, Laura Walker.

“It may be that young adults remove themselves from important social settings to play video games, or that people who already struggle with relationships are trying to find other ways to spend their time,” Walker said. “My guess is that it’s some of both and becomes circular.”

For the record, Walker did not stand in the way of her family’s wish for a Nintendo Wii. Jensen had hoped to find some positive results as justification for playing popular football video game Madden NFL.

Participants reported how often they play video games, answered a battery of questions measuring relationship quality, including how much time, trust, support and affection they share with friends and parents.

But the researchers say video games do not themselves mean “game over” for a relationship because the connection they found is modest.

“Relationship quality is one of a cluster of things that we found to be modestly associated with video games,” Walker said. “The most striking part is that everything we found clustered around video game use is negative.”

Statistical analyses also revealed that the more young adults play video games, the more frequent their involvement in risky behaviours like drinking and drug abuse, said a Brigham release.

Young adults who played video games daily reported smoking pot almost twice as often as occasional players, and three times as often as those who never play. For young women, self-worth was low if their video game time was high.

These results were published in Friday’s issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

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