It seems like an age old argument among educators, parents, caretakers and peers; are video games good or bad for social behavior? Parents often worry that participating in video games will give their children poor morals, increase aggression and decrease sociability. However, some find games to be an effective aid for social interactions, while others respond with decreased social capabilities. Many studies have been conducted and with mixed results, no definite answer has been provided.
Recently a study was performed at Oxford University and published in the journal Pediatrics. Just under 5,000 people between the ages of 10-15 participated in the study, half male and half female. They were split into two groups, one which would play video games for up to 1 hour per day while the other would play video games for more than 3 hours per day. Each group was also split by type of video game system (console verses computer). Within the quadrants that the participants could fall under, each age group was monitored. The participants were required to fill in numerous questionnaires in order to gauge how they felt about their social interactions.
The study concluded that those who participated in video games for most of their day were less well adjusted. This could be a result of the quality and type of social interactions online. The young people who participated in video games for up to an hour per day seemed to be well-adjusted and even displayed proactive social behavior. However, in the long run the results became difficult to determine due to external circumstances potentially effecting the questionnaire results (such as family situations).
As a result, there is still no clear answer to whether playing video games is beneficial or a hindrance to social interactions throughout life. There are many factors that can affect whether participating in video games may lead to a positive or negative change in lifestyle for an individual of any age. As more research is conducted, we will hopefully be able to obtain a clearer image of how specific kinds of video games affect various age groups and common personalities.
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