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Not so doomed: Computer game play and positive adolescent development

Durkin, K. and Barber, B. (2002) Not so doomed: Computer game play and positive adolescent development. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 23 (4). pp. 373-392. ISSN 0193-3973

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It has been speculated that computer game play by young people has negative correlates or consequences, although little evidence has emerged to support these fears. An alternative possibility is that game play may be associated with positive features of development, as the games reflect and contribute to participation in a challenging and stimulating voluntary leisure environment. This study examined the relationship between game play and several measures of adjustment or risk taking in a sample of 16-year-old high school students. No evidence was obtained of negative outcomes among game players. On several measures - including family closeness, activity involvement, positive school engagement, positive mental health, substance use, self-concept, friendship network, and disobedience to parents - game players scored more favorably than did peers who never played computer games. It is concluded that computer games can be a positive feature of a healthy adolescence.