*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Study Finds.
While parents probably don’t like the idea of their children sitting around all day playing video games, a new study finds it could actually benefit the mental health of young boys. Researchers from University College London say boys who regularly play video games are less likely to suffer from depression when they reach their teenage years.
Unfortunately, not all types of screen time have the same impact on young minds. The same study reveals young girls who regularly use social media are more likely to experience depression as they grow.
Scientists find that the social and problem-solving features of video games can boost the mental health of young boys.
The researchers analyzed data from 11,341 teenagers born in the United Kingdom between 2000 and 2002. At 11 years-old, researchers asked participants in the study how much time they spend on social media, playing video games, or surfing the web daily.
Three years later, the group answered questions about depressive symptoms, such as low mood, loss of pleasure, and poor concentration. The team also took into account other factors which may influence mental health. These include socioeconomic status, levels of physical activity, reports of bullying, and previous emotional traumas.
The report finds 11-year-old boys who did not exercise regularly benefited mentally from playing video games on a regular basis. On average, they experienced a 24-percent drop in depressive symptoms in comparison to boys who only play games once a month.
The results reveal girls who use social media on a daily basis from the age of 11 are more likely to experience mental health problems three years later. Boys, on the other hand, did not suffer the same effects of digital media, especially if they are less physically active.
The findings appear in the journal Psychological Medicine.
Source: Study Finds