Male teens who play videogames are less likely to smoke or take up drugs, and do better at school than their non-gaming classmates, according to new research.

However, the same can not be said of girl gamers – apparently they're more likely to get into fights or bring a weapon to school.

The research, carried out by the American Academy of Pediatrics and reported by Games Radar, surveyed 4,000 Connecticut high school students.

The study found that boys who were regular gamers generally posted a higher grade average at school, were less likely to take up smoking and more likely to claim that they'd never tried alcohol or marijuana.

On the other hand, "girls who reported gaming were less likely to report depression and more likely to report getting into serious fights and carrying a weapon to school."

76 per cent of boys and over 29 per cent of girls questioned said that they played played videogames, 61 per cent of whom claimed they played for less than seven hours a week.

The report went on to add that a small minority of those surveyed suffered more serious problems related to their gaming habits.

"Among gamers, 4.9 per cent reported problematic gaming," claimed the report, "defined as reporting trying to cut back, experiencing an irresistible urge to play, and experiencing a growing tension that could only be relieved by playing.

"Boys were more likely to report these problems (5.8 per cent) than girls (3.0 per cent). Correlates of problematic gaming included regular cigarette smoking, drug use, depression, and serious fights.

"Results suggest that gaming is largely normative in boys and not associated with many health factors," the report continued. "In girls, however, gaming seems to be associated with more externalizing behaviors and fewer internalizing symptoms."

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Fred Dutton

Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton is Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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