It's not every day that research shows why playing video games can be good for your health. At least in one sense, it may be - for some adolescents, video games may be healthier than social media. This is part of the research outlined in an intriguing New York Times article, exploring why adolescent girls seem to experience more anxiety than do boys.
The article focuses heavily on different uses of social media, with girls spending more time on social media, and more of that time concerned about their appearance relative to others (whereas boys spend more time on video games). At least in video games, you can eventually develop the skills to win or advance. In social media, you will never be the most beautiful one; there is always room to compare yourself unfavorably to others' seemingly better lives or bodies.
The author goes on to outline three approaches to reducing these effects, all of which are essentially about reducing our connection to our devices and to social media: No screens in bedrooms, no screens at the dinner table, and no earbuds in the car.
There are surely deeper elements of this as well - we can help adolescents form and enjoy deeper friendships, and model for them that a comparison-based definition of success is not a reliable path toward happiness or fulfillment. In the meantime, this article casts an important light on a trend causing particular difficulty for adolescent girls today.