Boys who regularly play video games are more than twice as likely to have emotional and behavioural problems in childhood, but girls aren’t similarly affected.
This is one of the findings from the first large population-based study to show clear links between mental health and the amount of time spent using TV, video games and the internet.
The Murdoch Childrens Research Institute study of eight- and nine-year-olds found video gaming boys had greater conduct and emotional problems while watching TV was associated with greater hyperactivity and inattention. Girls didn’t have the same correlation.
Researchers couldn’t pinpoint how the link between gaming and mental health problems happened. It may be that the electronic media causes emotional and behavioural problems — or it may be that children with these problems spend more time using electronic media.
– Cayla Dengate