(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers from the University of Oxford, in collaboration with international publishers of popular video games, assessed the impact of gaming experience on the mental health of gamers.
Contrary to popular belief about the dangers of video games, scientists have not found reliable evidence of such a connection between this type of leisure and the well-being of players.
Video games are an extremely popular form of entertainment, communication, collaboration and competition for billions of people of all ages around the world.
Their ubiquitous distribution among many, including governments of different countries, is alarming and fearful due to the possible deterioration of mental health and the development of addiction among players.
This often leads to far-reaching and often contested health decisions despite the lack of scientific evidence and adequate supporting evidence. For example, in China, teenagers under 18 are allowed to play video games for no more than one hour a day strictly on Fridays, weekends or holidays.
On the other hand, a number of scientific papers report that video games help people relax, recharge, and can even serve as a source of psychological help.
Therefore, it is essential that research conducted in this area provide reliable, reliable and up-to-date data to inform the public and politicians about the real state of affairs.
To this end, a team of scientists from the University of Oxford conducted a new study, the results of which are published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
In their work, they decided to evaluate the short-term (within two weeks) impact of video games on the mental well-being of gamers depending on the number of hours spent in the game.
The authors surveyed 38,935 English-speaking players from Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK and the US (mean age 34) who volunteered to participate in three rounds of the survey.
The questionnaire asked them to rate their mental well-being and compare it to the amount of time spent playing games in the previous two weeks.
At the same time, the publishers of seven video games (Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Apex Legends, Eve Online, Forza Horizon 4, Gran Turismo Sport, Outriders and The Crew 2) provided researchers with anonymous data on the gaming activity of survey participants with the consent of the players.
The results of the analysis of the obtained data showed that the fears of many parents and politicians may still be unfounded: the time spent playing video games during the two weeks examined had a very limited impact on the well-being and mental well-being of gamers.
And vice versa, subjective well-being had practically no effect on the time spent playing the game.
What’s more, based on the survey, the authors created a model that even if one hour of daily play time was increased, the impact on players’ well-being would be too small to be subjectively noticeable.
Even assuming that negative effects are constantly accumulating over time (which is clearly unrealistic), players will notice a significant difference only after four months of maintaining such a game mode.
A noticeable impact on mental health can be achieved much faster, but only with an increase in playing time by ten hours a day (relative to the standard for each player).
“While we have studied the play and well-being of tens of thousands of people in various video games, our research has barely touched the entire diversity of the video game industry. In addition, our conclusions about the causal nature of the observed associations are only preliminary.
To identify possible shorter-term or slower effects, studies are needed both with a higher measurement resolution and with a longer observation time, ”the scientists summed up.
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