Can Playing Video Games Cause a Breakdown of Family Relationships?
Brigham students own studies into the effects of video game usage on relationships prove disappointing.
Alex Jenson and Laura Walker (Alex’s Faculty mentor) published their results on 23rd Jan 09. The result, based on the studies of 813 college students around the country showed that the when the time spent playing video games increase, the quality of the relationship experienced between peers and parents decreased.
“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,” Said Laura Walker. “My guess is that it’s some of both and becomes circular.”
Walker did however state that she did not attempt to dissuade her family’s desire for a Nintendo WII… In fact, she hoped that positive results would go some way to justifying spending a proportion of her time playing Madden NFL.
During the study, the students taking part were made to keep a track of how long they play video games and, how much time – support, affection and trust they shared/experienced with their family and friends.
The pair does however say that the playing of video games in itself doesn’t necessarily mean a doomed family relationship, because they say the connection they have discovered is only a modest one.
“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.”
Analysing the stats also exposed another interesting fact; the more young adults played video games, the greater their tendency towards involvement in what is considered as risky behaviour, such as drug and alcohol abuse. Youths that reported playing video games daily also tended to report smoking illicit substances around twice as much as those that played only occasionally, and 3 times as often as youths that never played video games.
Perhaps oddly, when women were studied, self worth seemed to be low when their video game use was high.
Jenson is now curious as to how the games could affect young couples, partially because of the fact that although nearly 3/4ths of men in college play video games on a regular basis, just 17% of women reported playing more than once per month.
Alex Jensen reportedly still avoids admitting the results to his family, and is said to have hope that further studies, such as studies into multi-player video games will exonerate the use of games consoles.
“The gender imbalance begs the question of whether chasing a new high score beats spending quality time with a girlfriend or wife,” Jensen said.
Contact: Joe Hadfield