Do sports or video games make children happier?

Research in developmental psychology has demonstrated the importance of lifestyles in the health and well-being of children and adolescents and their impact on later stages of the life cycle.

In childhood and adolescence, the developmental benefits of sport and physical activity as a protective factor follow a dose-response relationship. recommended At least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day.

Physical activity in this population associated with lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of obesity and overweight. Physical activity also contributes social helpsfacilitating the development of social and collaborative skills and building better relationships with teachers and peers.

mental health benefits

Effects of physical activity on the body sanity: associated with a lower risk of depression, anxiety, and stress, self-esteem problems, and better cognitive and intellectual functioning, which in turn has been associated with better academic performance.

Lately, Various studies Our research group at the University of Huelva they showed sports participation with less depressive symptoms, more life satisfaction and increased body satisfaction in adolescence.

Less sports, more video games

In recent years, data obtained from international studies, decrease in physical activity practice both during adolescence to increase time spent using video games, using social networks, or in front of screens.

By contrast, after the pandemic, there is a wealth of evidence gathered. rise alarm as well as mental health problems in the child and adolescent population damage time spent in front of screens

What makes you happier?

we searched The differential impact of playing sports or playing video games on life satisfaction in a sample of more than 10,000 12-year-old girls and boys from nine European Union countries was analyzed by analyzing the study data. Children’s Worlds.

The results showed, for example, that only 26.4% exercise every day, while 39.3% use video games every day.

Additionally, we found that more sports activity practice was associated with greater life satisfaction, but no significant association was found with video game use.

gender differences

We also observed relevant gender differences. Thus, the highest levels of life satisfaction were found in boys who used more physical activity and less video games, while the lowest levels of life satisfaction were found in girls who played less sports and used video games more.

These results underline the need to design and implement programs to promote physical activity and sport as measures to protect the psychological health of our children and adolescents.

This requires working hand in hand across family, school and community settings and addressing existing gender differences to prevent them from continuing throughout development.

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