Gaming Is Better Than TV and Social Media, Recent Study Says of Three Biggest Wastes of Time
Some people love talking smack about video games. Never mind the fact gaming generates more revenue than film and music combined. Haters still claim video games rot your brains. Of course, they ignore studies that show games improve coordination, memory and problem-solving. Naysayers accuse video games of causing depression, anxiety, and antisocial behavior. If you can’t take this B.S. anymore, never fear. Thanks to a team of French-Canadian scientists, now we can all say one big, collective, “Told you so.” Study authors found that video games are better for you than social media and even TV. If you want to learn how to use science to counter the haters of video games, then read on.
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The Postmodern Condition
Depression and anxiety among young people is no joke. With so much of modern life filtered through glowing rectangles, a group of researchers decided to see how teens are being affected.
Getting the Closeup
Many studies show screen time is linked to anxiety and depression in adolescents. This study wanted to look at not just how much kids were in front of screens, but also what kind of activities they were doing while there.
A Whole Lot of Hormones
The study got very personal with 3,826 teens from 31 schools scattered around the greater Montreal area. The Quebecois lab coats asked about depression and anxiety, but answers often veered into failed teen romance and other stories of biological dysfunction.
Use Your Words
How do you find out about the online activities of almost 4,000 teenagers? These researchers just asked, allowing subjects to self-report every year over a four-year period.
The Usual Suspects
The scientists produced two studies using the same data set. One of the studies tested three theories attempting to explain why sitting on your keister in front of a screen all day makes you miserable. Researchers pointed to FOMO and reinforced negative thinking as the likely culprits.
The same study mentioned previously showed that every hour teens spent on social media caused a .64-unit increase in depressive symptoms. The scale scientists use to measure sadness is called the Brief Symptoms Inventory, which is the perfect name for your next emo band.
All Content is Not Created Equal
Another interesting conclusion is that only some content is harmful, such as watching lots of TV or using social media. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has stared into the soulless depths of an Instagram influencer's eye holes.
Who Got Game?
While some forms of content clearly correlated with higher levels of depression or anxiety, playing video games was not one of these. If only Luigi could lay pipe on a real-life final boss like Mark Zuckerberg for once.
Gamers Have More Friends
Researchers think gaming makes people happy because it’s a highly social activity these days. After all, what’s more fun than smack talking with your boys while you murder their digital avatars?