Research: Nagging Parents May Drive Kids to Play More Games

An interesting research project from Michigan University that polled middle-schoolers about their game playing habits found that nagging parents may be driving their kids to play even more video games than they normally would. Of course, researchers say that children could simply "perceive" that their parents are nagging them about their gameplay.

The study, which was backed by funding from the National Science Foundation, is one of the first pieces of research to link parental behavior to children’s' videogame playing habits. Researchers surveyed more than 500 students from 20 middle schools in the state and found that the more children perceived their parents’ behavior as negative and the less monitoring parents did, the more the children played videogames. The next step, says lead researcher Linda Jackson, is to find out what’s fuels children’s videogame behavior.

"Does a parent’s negative interactions with their child drive the child into the world of videogames, perhaps to escape the parent’s negativity?" said Jackson, professor of psychology at MSU. "Or, alternatively, does videogame playing cause the child to perceive his or her relationship with the parent as negative?"

Jackson said that the relationship between videogame playing and actual (rather than perceived) behavior of parents may also be at play in some situations. Perceptions don’t always mirror reality, she said, and this may be the case in the child-parent relationship. The research is a small part of a larger project researchers are exploring about the effects of technology use on children’s "academic performance, social life, psychological well-being and moral reasoning."

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