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‘Boys who play a lot have less chance of depression’

Let your brother or son play video games for an hour longer, so that he is less likely to develop depressive symptoms later in life. This has emerged from a new study.

To this end, University College London (UCL), the Swedish Karolinska Institutet and the Australian Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute have joined forces.

Regular and little gaming

Three years later, young boys (around 11 years old) who played games regularly had 24 percent fewer depressive symptoms than boys who played a video game less than once a month. No significant difference was noted in girls. Good to note: the difference was only found in boys who do not exercise much. So guys who play a lot and exercise a lot (or play little and exercise a lot) may not be involved in this positive group. However, there is a chance that, thanks to exercise, they will suffer less from depressive symptoms anyway.

There may also be other explanations for the difference in depression. For example, how their parents raise the boys, or how many social contacts they have. However, the researchers did not have access to this data.

Depressive symptoms due to social media

Less active boys get more fun and social interaction from video games, the researchers think. According to them, the results of the research indicate this, but they cannot link causal relationships to the results. Still, the results suggest there are positive aspects to video games that can boost mental health, such as problem solving and the chance to collaborate.

The same effect was therefore not noticed in girls who play a lot. But the researchers saw a different effect with them. For example, girls who were more on social media later developed more depressive symptoms. This was not the case with guys who scroll a lot on Instagram and Facebook.

According to the researchers, different activities may affect boys and girls differently. The time they spend on an activity can also have an impact. The boys in the study played more video games, while the girls spent more on social media.

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‘Boys who play a lot have less chance of depression’

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