Laura M. Padilla-Walker, an associate professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and some colleagues conducted a study on the effect of playing video games on the players. The researchers examined the previous 12-months’ frequency and types of video games and internet use of 500 female and 313 male undergraduate college students in the United States.
The students were twenty years old on the average. Among young college students, the frequency and type of video games played appears to parallel risky drug and alcohol use, poorer personal relationships, and low levels of self-esteem, the researchers reported.
“This does not mean that every person who plays video games has low self-worth, or that playing video games will lead to drug use,” Laura M. Padilla-Walker told Reuters Health. “Rather, these findings simply indicate video gaming may cluster with a number of negative outcomes, at least for some segment of the population,” she said.
The students recounted their drug and alcohol use, perceptions of self-worth and social acceptance, as well as the quality of their relationships with friends and family. Besides, they received course credit for their study participation.
The findings which were reported in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, showed stark gender differences in video games and internet use.
Comparing the young women with the young men, it was revealed that video gaming among the men is three times more often and playing violent video games nearly eight times as often than the young women.
Young men were also more likely to use the Internet for entertainment, daily headline news, and pornography, while young women more often used the Internet for email and schoolwork.
However, regardless of gender, clear correlations were seen between frequent gaming and more frequent alcohol and drug use and lower quality personal relationships, as well as more frequent violent gaming and a greater number of sexual partners and low quality personal relationships.
The investigators linked similar negative outcomes with Internet use for chat rooms, shopping, entertainment, and pornography, but a contrasting “plethora of positive outcomes” with Internet use for schoolwork.
Laura M. Padilla-Walker and her co-workers think that a continued analyses of video game and internet use will improve the overall understanding of health and development among emerging young adults.