Study: Hello Video Games, Goodbye Family and Friends

Much to the consternation of a young Brigham Young University researcher, a new study out of the school shows that the more young adults play video games the worse their relationships become with family and friends.

Some 813 college students from around the United States were asked to share information about how often they play video games and how much time, trust and affection they share with family and friends.

The study was conducted by Brigham Young University undergrad and Madden NFL fan Alex Jensen and his faculty mentor, Laura Walker, whose family owns a Nintendo Wii. Their results are being published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 

"It may be that young adults remove themselves from important social settings to play video games, or that people who already struggle with relationships are trying to find other ways to spend their time," Walker said in a statement.  "My guess is that it's some of both and becomes circular.

"The most striking part is that everything we found clustered around video game use is negative," she said.

The study found that the more young adults played video games, the more likely they were to engage in activities such as drinking and drug abuse. For young women, self-worth was inversely proportional to game use.

Jensen said he is curious about how the results, which showed about three in four males play video games vs. fewer than one in five females, will have on young couples.

"The gender imbalance begs the question of whether chasing a new high score beats spending quality time with a girlfriend or wife," Jensen said in a statement.

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