The time dedicated to video games does not influence well-being, according to a study | Technology
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The time spent playing a video game has practically no influence on the well-being of the gamers or gamers, according to a new study by the Oxford University Internet Institute. For six weeks, starting in September 2021, almost 39,000 players (of legal age) of seven popular video games (Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Apex Legends, Eve Online, Forza Horizon 4, Gran Turismo Sport and The Crew 2) responded to a survey to measure their well-being after having spent more or less hours doing that activity. The conclusion that the group of researchers has drawn from analyzing the data collected is that motivation plays a more important role than the time invested. This work is one more step in trying to understand the true influence of a powerful industry that has been significantly changing leisure time for decades, especially among the youngest.
“Our results suggest that the most exaggerated hopes and fears around video games may be unfounded: the time spent playing video games turned out to have limited or no impact on well-being,” concludes the scientific article. He adds: “Our findings therefore suggest that the amount of play, in general, does not undermine well-being. Instead, our results align with the view that motivational experiences during play can influence well-being. Simply put, the subjective qualities of the game may be more important than its quantity.”
The study distinguishes two types of motivations: intrinsic and extrinsic. The first is simply the result of something that a person enjoys, of the action itself; the second is instrumental and conditioned by the result. According to the conclusions, the intrinsic one would have a positive effect on the well-being of the individual and the extrinsic one a negative one, and this influence seems to last longer than the time dedicated to video games. For example, if during the game the desired objectives and rewards are not achieved.
“Our study finds little evidence of a connection between video games and well-being, but we know that we need to obtain much more data from gamers on other platforms to understand the understanding that is required to inform legislators and to make recommendations to parents already. health professionals”, explains Professor Andrew Przybylski, one of the researchers in charge of the work, published in Royal Society Open Science.
The text itself mentions the case of China, where the Government has been progressively limiting and reducing the number of hours that minors can play video games each week; only three hours are allowed, specifically. Another of the authors, Dr. Matti Vuorre, is clear in this regard: “One thing is certain: right now there is not enough data or evidence for legislators to restrict playing time among certain groups of the population.” And he adds: “I would like to urge companies to make it easier for users to donate their data to independent researchers,” he claims, in order to further analyze this issue.
In that sense, Przybylski assures that this work represents substantial progress for the field, but that they need to “cast a much broader net” to capture more information about the game and its consequences. “If we really want to understand how gaming influences human health, we need to collect data from the thousands of games played every day. Conclusive answers to the questions of how gaming influences our society will require all major console, computer, and mobile platforms to allow their users to effortlessly and ethically donate their gaming data for independent analysis.” Oxford University Press.
Faced with this type of restrictive measures, the study suggests that video games can help players relax and recharge batteries, and even serve as psychological treatment. Hence, I advocate further investigation. This same university concluded through another study published in 2020 that, in fact, a greater number of hours spent playing video games leads to a slightly higher level of well-being.
Dr and co-author Niklas Johannes adds: “The data is a very valuable source and allows other researchers to test their own questions on the issue. For example, we used this data to show that a game with two shooters had no effect on aggression, and we encourage others to make the most of this data.”
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