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  • Published: 10 December 2020

Effect of internet use and electronic game-play on academic performance of Australian children

  • Md Irteja Islam 1 , 2 ,
  • Raaj Kishore Biswas 3 &
  • Rasheda Khanam 1  

Scientific Reports volume  10 , Article number:  21727 ( 2020 ) Cite this article

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This study examined the association of internet use, and electronic game-play with academic performance respectively on weekdays and weekends in Australian children. It also assessed whether addiction tendency to internet and game-play is associated with academic performance. Overall, 1704 children of 11–17-year-olds from young minds matter (YMM), a cross-sectional nationwide survey, were analysed. The generalized linear regression models adjusted for survey weights were applied to investigate the association between internet use, and electronic-gaming with academic performance (measured by NAPLAN–National standard score). About 70% of the sample spent > 2 h/day using the internet and nearly 30% played electronic-games for > 2 h/day. Internet users during weekdays (> 4 h/day) were less likely to get higher scores in reading and numeracy, and internet use on weekends (> 2–4 h/day) was positively associated with academic performance. In contrast, 16% of electronic gamers were more likely to get better reading scores on weekdays compared to those who did not. Addiction tendency to internet and electronic-gaming is found to be adversely associated with academic achievement. Further, results indicated the need for parental monitoring and/or self-regulation to limit the timing and duration of internet use/electronic-gaming to overcome the detrimental effects of internet use and electronic game-play on academic achievement.

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Introduction.

Over the past two decades, with the proliferation of high-tech devices (e.g. Smartphone, tablets and computers), both the internet and electronic games have become increasingly popular with people of all ages, but particularly with children and adolescents 1 , 2 , 3 . Recent estimates have shown that one in three under-18-year-olds across the world uses the Internet, and 75% of adolescents play electronic games daily in developed countries 4 , 5 , 6 . Studies in the United States reported that adolescents are occupied with over 11 h a day with modern electronic media such as computer/Internet and electronic games, which is more than they spend in school or with friends 7 , 8 . In Australia, it is reported that about 98% of children aged 15–17 years are among Internet users and 98% of adolescents play electronic games, which is significantly higher than the USA and Europe 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 .

In recent times, the Internet and electronic games have been regarded as important, not just for better results at school, but also for self-expression, sociability, creativity and entertainment for children and adolescents 13 , 14 . For instance, 88% of 12–17 year-olds in the USA considered the Internet as a useful mechanism for making progress in school 15 , and similarly, electronic gaming in children and adolescents may assist in developing skills such as decision-making, smart-thinking and coordination 3 , 15 .

On the other hand, evidence points to the fact that the use of the Internet and electronic games is found to have detrimental effects such as reduced sleeping time, behavioural problems (e.g. low self-esteem, anxiety, depression), attention problems and poor academic performance in adolescents 1 , 5 , 12 , 16 . In addition, excessive Internet usage and increased electronic gaming are found to be addictive and may cause serious functional impairment in the daily life of children and adolescents 1 , 12 , 13 , 16 . For example, the AU Kids Online survey 17 reported that 50% of Australian children were more likely to experience behavioural problems associated with Internet use compared to children from 25 European countries (29%) surveyed in the EU Kids Online study 18 , which is alarming 12 . These mixed results require an urgent need of understanding the effect of the Internet use and electronic gaming on the development of children and adolescents, particularly on their academic performance.

Despite many international studies and a smaller number in Australia 12 , several systematic limitations remain in the existing literature, particularly regarding the association of academic performance with the use of Internet and electronic games in children and adolescents 13 , 16 , 19 . First, the majority of the earlier studies have either relied on school grades or children’s self assessments—which contain an innate subjectivity by the assessor; and have not considered the standardized tests of academic performance 16 , 20 , 21 , 22 . Second, most previous studies have tested the hypothesis in the school-based settings instead of canvassing the whole community, and cannot therefore adjust for sociodemographic confounders 9 , 16 . Third, most studies have been typically limited to smaller sample sizes, which might have reduced the reliability of the results 9 , 16 , 23 .

By considering these issues, this study aimed to investigate the association of internet usage and electronic gaming on a standardized test of academic performance—NAPLAN (The National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy) among Australian adolescents aged 11–17 years using nationally representative data from the Second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing—Young Minds Matter (YMM). It is hypothesized that the findings of this study will provide a population-wide, contextual view of excessive Internet use and electronic games played separately on weekdays and weekends by Australian adolescents, which may be beneficial for evidence-based policies.

Subject demographics

Respondents who attended gave NAPLAN in 2008 (N = 4) and 2009 (N = 29) were removed from the sample due to smaller sample size, as later years (2010–2015) had over 100 samples yearly. The NAPLAN scores from 2008 might not align with a survey conducted in 2013. Further missing cases were deleted with the assumption that data were missing at random for unbiased estimates, which is common for large-scale surveys 24 . From the initial survey of 2967 samples, 1704 adolescents were sampled for this study.

The sample characteristics were displayed in Table 1 . For example, distribution of daily average internet use was checked, showing that over 50% of the sampled adolescents spent 2–4 h on internet (Table 1 ). Although all respondents in the survey used internet, nearly 21% of them did not play any electronic games in a day and almost one in every three (33%) adolescents played electronic games beyond the recommended time of 2 h per day. Girls had more addictive tendency to internet/game-play in compare to boys.

The mean scores for the three NAPLAN tests scores (reading, writing and numeracy) ranged from 520 to 600. A gradual decline in average NAPLAN tests scores (reading, writing and numeracy) scores were observed for internet use over 4 h during weekdays, and over 3 h during weekends (Table 2 ). Table 2 also shows that adolescents who played no electronic games at all have better scores in writing compared to those who play electronic games. Moreover, Table 2 shows no particular pattern between time spent on gaming and NAPLAN reading and numeracy scores. Among the survey samples, 308 adolescents were below the national standard average.

Internet use and academic performance

Our results show that internet (non-academic use) use during weekdays, especially more than 4 h, is negatively associated with academic performance (Table 3 ). For internet use during weekdays, all three models showed a significant negative association between time spent on internet and NAPLAN reading and numeracy scores. For example, in Model 1, adolescents who spent over 4 h on internet during weekdays are 15% and 17% less likely to get higher reading and numeracy scores respectively compared to those who spend less than 2 h. Similar results were found in Model 2 and 3 (Table 3 ), when we adjusted other confounders. The variable addiction tendency to internet was found to be negatively associated with NAPLAN results. The adolescents who had internet addiction were 17% less and 14% less likely to score higher in reading and numeracy respectively than those without such problematic behaviour.

Internet use during weekends showed a positive association with academic performance (Table 4 ). For example, Model 1 in Table 4 shows that internet use during weekends was significant for reading, writing and national standard scores. Youths who spend around 2–4 h and over 4 h on the internet during weekends were 21% and 15% more likely to get a higher reading scores respectively compared to those who spend less than 2 h (Model 1, Table 4 ). Similarly, in model 3, where the internet addiction of adolescents was adjusted, adolescents who spent 2–4 h on internet were 1.59 times more likely to score above the national standard. All three models of Table 4 confirmed that adolescents who spent 2–4 h on the internet during weekends are more likely to achieve better reading and writing scores and be at or above national standard compared to those who used the internet for less than 2 h. Numeracy scores were unlikely to be affected by internet use. The results obtained from Model 3 should be treated as robust, as this is the most comprehensive model that accounts for unobserved characteristics. The addiction tendency to internet/game-play variable showed a negative association with academic performance, but this is only significant for numeracy scores.

Electronic gaming and academic performance

Time spent on electronic gaming during weekdays had no effect on the academic performance of writing and language but had significant association with reading scores (Model 2, Table 5 ). Model 2 of Table 5 shows that adolescents who spent 1–2 h on gaming during weekdays were 13% more likely to get higher reading scores compared to those who did not play at all. It was an interesting result that while electronic gaming during weekdays tended to show a positive effect on reading scores, internet use during weekdays showed a negative effect. Addiction tendency to internet/game-play had a negative effect; the adolescents who were addicted to the internet were 14% less likely to score more highly in reading than those without any such behaviour.

All three models from Table 6 confirm that time spent on electronic gaming over 2 h during weekends had a positive effect on readings scores. For example, the results of Model 3 (Table 6 ) showed that adolescents who spent more than 2 h on electronic gaming during weekdays were 16% more likely to have better reading scores compared to adolescents who did not play games at all. Playing electronic games during weekends was not found to be statistically significant for writing and numeracy scores and national standard scores, although the odds ratios were positive. The results from all tables confirm that addiction tendency to internet/gaming is negatively associated with academic performance, although the variable is not always statistically significant.

Building on past research on the effect of the internet use and electronic gaming in adolescents, this study examined whether Internet use and playing electronic games were associated with academic performance (i.e. reading, writing and numeracy) using a standardized test of academic performance (i.e. NAPLAN) in a nationally representative dataset in Australia. The findings of this study question the conventional belief 9 , 25 that academic performance is negatively associated with internet use and electronic games, particularly when the internet is used for non-academic purpose.

In the current hi-tech world, many developed countries (e.g. the USA, Canada and Australia) have recommended that 5–17 year-olds limit electronic media (e.g. internet, electronic games) to 2 h per day for entertainment purposes, with concerns about the possible negative consequences of excessive use of electronic media 14 , 26 . However, previous research has often reported that children and adolescents spent more than the recommended time 26 . The present study also found similar results, that is, that about 70% of the sampled adolescents aged 11–17 spent more than 2 h per day on the Internet and nearly 30% spent more than 2-h on electronic gaming in a day. This could be attributed to the increased availability of computers/smart-phones and the internet among under-18s 12 . For instance, 97% of Australian households with children aged less than 15 years accessed internet at home in 2016–2017 10 ; as a result, policymakers recommended that parents restrict access to screens (e.g. Internet and electronic games) in children’s bedrooms, monitor children using screens, share screen hours with their children, and to act as role models by reducing their own screen time 14 .

This research has drawn attention to the fact that the average time spent using the internet, which is often more than 4 h during weekdays tends to be negatively associated with academic performance, especially a lower reading and numeracy score, while internet use of more than 2 h during weekends is positively associated with academic performance, particularly having a better reading and writing score and above national standard score. By dividing internet use and gaming by weekdays and weekends, this study find an answer to the mixed evidence found in previous literature 9 . The results of this study clearly show that the non-academic use of internet during weekdays, particularly, spending more than 4 h on internet is harmful for academic performance, whereas, internet use on the weekends is likely to incur a positive effect on academic performance. This result is consistent with a USA study that reported that internet use is positively associated with improved reading skills and higher scores on standardized tests 13 , 27 . It is also reported in the literature that academic performance is better among moderate users of the internet compared to non-users or high level users 13 , 27 , which was in line with the findings of this study. This may be due to the fact that the internet is predominantly a text-based format in which the internet users need to type and read to access most websites effectively 13 . The results of this study indicated that internet use is not harmful to academic performance if it is used moderately, especially, if ensuring very limited use on weekdays. The results of this study further confirmed that timing (weekdays or weekends) of internet use is a factor that needs to be considered.

Regarding electronic gaming, interestingly, the study found that the average time of gaming either in weekdays or weekends is positively associated with academic performance especially for reading scores. These results contradicted previous literatures 1 , 13 , 19 , 27 that have reported negative correlation between electronic games and educational performance in high-school children. The results of this study were consistent with studies conducted in the USA, Europe and other countries that claimed a positive correlation between gaming and academic performance, especially in numeracy and reading skills 28 , 29 . This is may be due to the fact that the instructions for playing most of the electronic games are text-heavy and many electronic games require gamers to solve puzzles 9 , 30 . The literature also found that playing electronic games develops cognitive skills (e.g. mental rotation abilities, dexterity), which can be attributable to better academic achievement 31 , 32 .

Consistent with previous research findings 33 , 34 , 35 , 36 , the study also found that adolescents who had addiction tendency to internet usage and/or electronic gaming were less likely to achieve higher scores in reading and numeracy compared to those who had not problematic behaviour. Addiction tendency to Internet/gaming among adolescents was found to be negatively associated with overall academic performance compared to those who were not having addiction tendency, although the variables were not always statistically significant. This is mainly because adolescents’ skipped school and missed classes and tuitions, and provide less effort to do homework due to addictive internet usage and electronic gaming 19 , 35 . The results of this study indicated that parental monitoring and/ or self-regulation (by the users) regarding the timing and intensity of internet use/gaming are essential to outweigh any negative effect of internet use and gaming on academic performance.

Although the present study uses a large nationally representative sample and advances prior research on the academic performance among adolescents who reported using the internet and playing electronic games, the findings of this study also have some limitations that need to be addressed. Firstly, adolescents who reported on the internet use and electronic games relied on self-reported child data without any screening tests or any external validation and thus, results may be overestimated or underestimated. Second, the study primarily addresses the internet use and electronic games as distinct behaviours, as the YMM survey gathered information only on the amount of time spent on internet use and electronic gaming, and included only a few questions related to addiction due to resources and time constraints and did not provide enough information to medically diagnose internet/gaming addiction. Finally, the cross-sectional research design of the data outlawed evaluation of causality and temporality of the observed association of internet use and electronic gaming with the academic performance in adolescents.

This study found that the average time spent on the internet on weekends and electronic gaming (both in weekdays and weekends) is positively associated with academic performance (measured by NAPLAN) of Australian adolescents. However, it confirmed a negative association between addiction tendency (internet use or electronic gaming) and academic performance; nonetheless, most of the adolescents used the internet and played electronic games more than the recommended 2-h limit per day. The study also revealed that further research is required on the development and implementation of interventions aimed at improving parental monitoring and fostering users’ self-regulation to restrict the daily usage of the internet and/or electronic games.

Data description

Young minds matter (YMM) was an Australian nationwide cross-sectional survey, on children aged 4–17 years conducted in 2013–2014 37 . Out of the initial 76,606 households approached, a total of 6,310 parents/caregivers (eligible household response rate 55%) of 4–17 year-old children completed a structured questionnaire via face to face interview and 2967 children aged 11–17 years (eligible children response rate 89%) completed a computer-based self-reported questionnaire privately at home 37 .

Area based sampling was used for the survey. A total of 225 Statistical Area 1 (defined by Australian Bureau of Statistics) areas were selected based on the 2011 Census of Population and Housing. They were stratified by state/territory and by metropolitan versus non-metropolitan (rural/regional) to ensure proportional representation of geographic areas across Australia 38 . However, a small number of samples were excluded, based on most remote areas, homeless children, institutional care and children living in households where interviews could not be conducted in English. The details of the survey and methodology used in the survey can be found in Lawrence et al. 37 .

Following informed consent (both written and verbal) from the primary carers (parents/caregivers), information on the National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) of the children and adolescents were also added to the YMM dataset. The YMM survey is ethically approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of Western Australia and by the Australian Government Department of Health. In addition, the authors of this study obtained a written approval from Australian Data Archive (ADA) Dataverse to access the YMM dataset. All the researches were done in accordance with relevant ADA Dataverse guidelines and policy/regulations in using YMM datasets.

Outcome variables

The NAPLAN, conducted annually since 2008, is a nationwide standardized test of academic performance for all Australian students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 to assess their skills in reading, writing numeracy, grammar and spelling 39 , 40 . NAPLAN scores from 2010 to 2015, reported by YMM, were used as outcome variables in the models; while NAPLAN data of 2008 (N = 4) and 2009 (N = 29) were excluded for this study in order to reduce the time lag between YMM survey and the NAPLAN test. The NAPLAN gives point-in-time standardized scores, which provide the scope to compare children’s academic performance over time 40 , 41 . The NAPLAN tests are one component of the evaluation and grading phase of each school, and do not substitute for the comprehensive, consistent evaluations provided by teachers on the performance of each student 39 , 41 . All four domains—reading, writing, numeracy and language conventions (grammar and spelling) are in continuous scales in the dataset. The scores are given based on a series of tests; details can be found in 42 . The current study uses only reading, writing and numeracy scores to measure academic performance.

In this study, the National standard score is a combination of three variables: whether the student meets the national standard in reading, writing and numeracy. Based on national average score, a binary outcome variable is also generated. One category is ‘below standard’ if a child scores at least one standard deviation (one below scores) from the national standard in reading, writing and numeracy, and the rest is ‘at/above standard’.

Independent variables

Internet use and electronic gaming.

In the YMM survey, owing to the scope of the survey itself, an extensive set of questions about internet usage and electronic gaming could not be included. Internet usage omitted the time spent in academic purposes and/or related activities. Playing electronic games included playing games on a gaming console (e.g. PlayStation, Xbox, or similar console ) online or using a computer, or mobile phone, or a handled device 12 . The primary independent covariates were average internet use per day and average electronic game-play in hours per day. A combination of hours on weekdays and weekends was separately used in the models. These variables were based on a self-assessed questionnaire where the youths were asked questions regarding daily time spent on the Internet and electronic game-play, specifically on either weekends or weekdays. Since, internet use/game-play for a maximum of 2 h/day is recommended for children and adolescents aged between 5 and 17 years in many developed countries including Australia 14 , 26 ; therefore, to be consistent with the recommended time we preferred to categorize both the time variables of internet use and gaming into three groups with an interval of 2 h each. Internet use was categorized into three groups: (a) ≤ 2 h), (b) 2–4 h, and (c) > 4 h. Similar questions were asked for game-play h. The sample distribution for electronic game-play was skewed; therefore, this variable was categorized into three groups: (a) no game-play (0 h), (b) 1–2 h, and (c) > 2 h.

Other covariates

Family structure and several sociodemographic variables were used in the models to adjust for the differences in individual characteristics, parental inputs and tastes, household characteristics and place of residence. Individual characteristics included age (continuous) and sex of the child (boys, girls) and addiction tendency to internet use and/or game-play of the adolescent. Addiction tendency to internet/game-play was a binary independent variable. It was a combination of five behavioural questions relating to: whether the respondent avoided eating/sleeping due to internet use or game-play; feels bothered when s/he cannot access internet or play electronic games; keeps using internet or playing electronic games even when s/he is not really interested; spends less time with family/friends or on school works due to internet use or game-play; and unsuccessfully tries to spend less time on the internet or playing electronic games. There were four options for each question: never/almost never; not very often; fairly often; and very often. A binary covariate was simulated, where if any four out of five behaviours were reported as for example, fairly often or very often, then it was considered that the respondent had addictive tendency.

Household characteristics included household income (low, medium, high), family type (original, step, blended, sole parent/primary carer, other) 43 and remoteness (major cities, inner regional, outer regional, remote/very remote). Parental inputs and taste included education of primary carer (bachelor, diploma, year 10/11), primary carer’s likelihood of serious mental illness (K6 score -likely; not likely); primary carer’s smoking status (no, yes); and risk of alcoholic related harm by the primary carer (risky, none).

Statistical analysis

Descriptive statistics of the sample and distributions of the outcome variables were initially assessed. Based on these distributions, the categorization of outcome variables was conducted, as mentioned above. For formal analysis, generalized linear regression models (GLMs) 44 were used, adjusting for the survey weights, which allowed for generalization of the findings. As NAPLAN scores of three areas—reading, writing and numeracy—were continuous variables, linear models were fitted to daily average internet time and electronic game play time. The scores were standardized (mean = 0, SD = 1) for model fitness. The binary logistic model was fitted for the dichotomized national standard outcome variable. Separate models were estimated for internet and electronic gaming on weekends and weekdays.

We estimated three different models, where models varied based on covariates used to adjust the GLMs. Model 1 was adjusted for common sociodemographic factors including age and sex of the child, household income, education of primary carer’s and family type 43 . However, the results of this model did not account for some unobserved household characteristics (e.g. taste, preferences) that are unobserved to the researcher and are arguably correlated with potential outcomes. The effects of unobserved characteristics were reduced by using a comprehensive set of observable characteristics 45 , 46 that were available in YMM data. The issue of unobserved characteristics was addressed by estimating two additional models that include variables by including household characteristics such as parental taste, preference and inputs, and child characteristics in the model. In addition to the variables in Model 1, Model 2 included remoteness, primary carer’s mental health status, smoking status and risk of alcoholic related harm by the primary carer. Model 3 further included internet/game addiction of the adolescent in addition to all the covariates in Model 2. Model 3 was expected to account for a child’s level of unobserved characteristics as the children who were addicted to internet/games were different from others. The model will further show how academic performance is affected by internet/game addiction. The correlation among the variables ‘internet/game addiction’ and ‘internet use’ and ‘gaming’ (during weekdays and weekends) were also assessed, and they were less than 0.5. Multicollinearity was assessed using the variance inflation factor (VIF), which was under 5 for all models, suggesting no multicollinearity 47 .

p value below the threshold of 0.05 was considered the threshold of significance. All analysis was conducted in R (version 3.6.1). R-package survey (version 3.37) was used for modelling which is suited for complex survey samples 48 .

Data availability

The authors declare that they do not have permission to share dataset. However, the datasets of Young Minds Matter (YMM) survey data is available at the Australian Data Archive (ADA) Dataverse on request ( https://doi.org/10.4225/87/LCVEU3 ).

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the University of Western Australia, Roy Morgan Research, the Australian Government Department of Health for conducting the survey, and the Australian Data Archive for giving access to the YMM survey dataset. The authors also would like to thank Dr Barbara Harmes for proofreading the manuscript.

This research did not receive any specific Grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Centre for Health Research and School of Commerce, University of Southern Queensland, Workstation 15, Room T450, Block T, Toowoomba, QLD, 4350, Australia

Md Irteja Islam & Rasheda Khanam

Maternal and Child Health Division, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), Mohakhali, Dhaka, 1212, Bangladesh

Md Irteja Islam

Transport and Road Safety (TARS) Research Centre, School of Aviation, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia

Raaj Kishore Biswas

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Islam, M.I., Biswas, R.K. & Khanam, R. Effect of internet use and electronic game-play on academic performance of Australian children. Sci Rep 10 , 21727 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-78916-9

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research study about online games

ORIGINAL RESEARCH article

Positive effects of online games on the growth of college students: a qualitative study from china.

\r\nFeiyue Li&#x;

  • 1 School of Nursing, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China
  • 2 School of Mental Health, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China

Objectives: This study aimed to explore the positive effects of online games on college students’ psychological demands and individual growth.

Methods: A qualitative study design was carried out in September 2021. Semi-structured, in-depth, and individual interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 20 undergraduates who played the online game “Glory of Kings” from six universities. Thematic analysis was employed to explore the positive features caused by “Glory of Kings”.

Results: College students reported three positive effects of online games, namely, satisfying the need for personal growth, meeting the requirement of social life and promoting academic performance.

Conclusion: College educators and families should take advantage of the positive effect of online games to guide college students to use online games reasonably.

1. Introduction

According to the survey data of the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), by the end of December 2021, the number of netizens in China reached 1.032 billion, of which the number of online game users reached 554 million ( CNNIC, 2022 ). The number of game apps reached 709,000, accounting for 28.2% of all apps ( CNNIC, 2022 ). Online games include massive, multiplayer, online role-playing games (MMORPGs), first-person shooter (FPS), real-time strategy (RTS) games, and other games ( Park et al., 2016 ). MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game, a subgenre of RTS games where two teams of five players usually play against each other ( Mora-Cantallops and Sicilia, 2018b ), is one of the most popular online games in China because of its competitive, interactive, and simple operating characteristics. Specifically, “Glory of Kings,” as a MOBA game, is listed at the top of the Chinese mobile game charts for contemporary college students ( Huang, 2021 ).

Online games are criticized by educators because many students invest a lot of time, money, and energy into games, which seriously affects their academic studies, social interaction, and physical and mental health, and ultimately leads to the tragedy of online game addiction ( Freeman, 2008 ; Kuss and Griffiths, 2012 ; Blinka and Mikuška, 2014 ; Xu et al., 2017 ). Online game addiction, as one of the most serious behavioral addictions ( Lopez-Fernandez, 2018 ), could cause a series of physical and mental problems, such as poor sleep, depression, anxiety, or even death ( Ferguson et al., 2011 ; Kuss and Griffiths, 2012 ; Wei et al., 2012 ). Meanwhile, parents’ opposition to online games can also be observed in family education. Studies have shown that the more addicted adolescents are to online games, the worse their parents’ attitude toward online games ( Jeong and Kim, 2011 ). Many adolescents who love playing online games face restrictions or prohibitions from their parents over the time spent on the Internet or other ways. For example, in a study of 2,021 adolescents, parental restrictions were 1.9 times higher among adolescents who were overly addicted to online games than among other adolescents ( Wu et al., 2016 ). Parents who do not show enough attention to their children promptly can lead to children using online games to divert negative family-related emotions ( Xu et al., 2021 ).

However, it is worth noting that the majority of studies focus on the negative effects of online games ( Lo et al., 2005 ; Ng and Wiemer-Hastings, 2005 ; Yc, 2006 ; Smyth, 2007 ; Li and Wang, 2013 ), while positive effects are neglected. In fact, playing online games at a moderate level could be beneficial to players’ personal psychological growth and interpersonal relationships ( Ko et al., 2005 ; Yee, 2006b ; Granic et al., 2014 ). In terms of emotional experience, existing research on the emotional impact of online games suggests that they have the potential to reduce depression, stress and obtain happiness ( Wu and Liu, 2007 ; Ari et al., 2020 ; Pine et al., 2020 ). In the process of psychological development, college students’ cognitive, memory, and other mental skills are proved to be enhanced by online games ( Boot et al., 2008 ; Glass et al., 2013 ; Oei and Patterson, 2013 ). There is evidence that games have the potential to provoke thought about the player’s personal development and ideals and increase the sense of self-realization if the players have strong ability in online games ( Nuangjumnong, 2014 ; Bopp et al., 2016 ; Mora-Cantallops and Sicilia, 2018a ). In social life, online games also establish the value of social connectedness and enhance the sense of interaction ( McClelland et al., 2011 ; Snodgrass et al., 2011 ; Oliver et al., 2016 ). Sublette and Mullan (2010 , p. 20) argue that through online games “socialization may just shift in focus: while real-world relationships eroded for some players.” It is further proposed that intimacy in games will also extend to offline real life, and shared game experience will reinforce offline communication ( Kim and Kim, 2017 ; Lai and Fung, 2019 ). MOBA games focus on personality development and teamwork in battle ( Yang et al., 2014 ; Mora-Cantallops and Sicilia, 2018b ). In other words, electronic space expands social communication to the virtual field ( Yee, 2006a ) and increases the team cooperation consciousness, leading to diverse communication ways. Besides, in terms of learning, online games are proven to help students engage in learning activities ( Iaremenko, 2017 ; Schenk et al., 2017 ; Calvo-Ferrer and Belda-Medina, 2021 ).

Existing research confirms that the academic performance and satisfaction of Chinese college students positively impact on the continued use of the “Glory of Kings” and promote the reconstruction of the player’s social image ( Chen and Chang, 2020 ). As mentioned above, previous studies have examined various positive aspects of online games, but the studies are based on foreign cultural contexts. Research subjects from different cultural backgrounds may have different perceptions and influences on online games, so it is culturally significant to study the positive influence of online games on Chinese college students. In other words, whether they can apply to the Chinese culture and environment or whether similar conclusions can be drawn among the Chinese college gamer population, has not been verified. Moreover, although “Glory of Kings” is widely concerned and popular among college students, few scholars in China try to evaluate the positive impact of “Glory of Kings” on college students. The design and development of “Glory of Kings” have distinctive Chinese cultural characteristics, therefore, the choice of “Glory of Kings” as a carrier for the study has cultural significance. Secondly, the widespread usage of “Glory of Kings” among college students provides universality for the study. Third, since most of the existing studies are quantitative, qualitative research can enrich the existing research results, explore new experiences, and make relevant suggestions for higher education and family education. In conclusion, given the current popularity and influence of “Glory of Kings” in China, an in-depth study of Chinese college student players was conducted using it as a medium for qualitative research.

2. Materials and methods

2.1. participants.

A purposive sampling method was adopted to select college students who were “Glory of Kings” players from six universities or colleges in Zhejiang Province. Inclusion criteria: (1) college students; (2) playing the “Glory of Kings” game for more than 1 year; (3) have participated in the “Glory of Kings” game in the ranking tournament; and (4) informed consent and voluntary participation. Exclusion criteria: (1) college students suspended from school due to physical problems; (2) students who have a medical history of mental illness or psychiatric disorders and who were screened as having mental problems in the students’ general psychological test. The sample size was determined based on the principle of theoretical saturation. Interviews were conducted until reached theoretical saturation—that is, when the 18th participants did not provide new insights, and two more interviews were conducted to verify if new information would emerge. In the end, no new ideas were found to emerge making the sample size appropriate for this study. Among 23 students who were invited to participate, one student refused to participate due to lack of interest, and two persons were unable to participate due to time conflicts. Eventually, 20 college students (13 males and 7 females) were interviewed. Their ages ranged from 18 to 21 years, and their experience in playing the “Glory of Kings” game ranged from 2 to 6 years. The detailed information of participants is shown in Table 1 .

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Table 1. The basic information of the “Glory of Kings” player interviewees.

2.2. Data collection

Participants were recruited in September 2021 with the assistance of the university’s gaming societies. The gaming societies presented the study recruitment information to members via social media. Participation was voluntary, and no incentive was offered for participation. The demographic information was collected before the interview, and the GPA information was collected at the beginning and end of the semester. The pilot-tested, semi-structured interviews were conducted using pre-determined, open-ended questions. The interviewers were conducted by two senior undergraduate students who had acquired knowledge of psychology, interpersonal communication, and qualitative research through relevant training prior to conducting this study. When conducting the interviews, they would follow a unified syllabus and agree on the follow-up questions. The interviews were conducted in a combination of online and offline formats. For participants located in Wenzhou City, interviews were conducted face-to-face in a meeting room at Wenzhou Medical University, where the environment was quiet and undisturbed. For participants located outside of Wenzhou City, online video interviews were conducted using social media. In addition to questions on demographic information, the interview syllabus was as follows:

1. Why do you play games?

2. How do you feel about being a player in the game of “Glory of Kings?”

3. What do you expect to gain from playing the game of “Glory of Kings?” And what do you actually gain from the game?

4. What is your experience with playing the game? And what experiences do you find enjoyable?

5. What are the best and worst things you think happen in the game?

6. What personal changes do you think have occurred after playing the game?

7. Is there anything else you would like to talk about on this topic?

All interviews were conducted at the time most convenient to the participants, and the interview schedule was determined 1 day in advance. Before the interview, participants were told about the procedures, such as how long the interview would last, the topics to be discussed, and permission to record the interview. Each interviewee lasted for approximately 30–40 min. All interviews were audiotaped and transcribed within 24 h after the interview. Two researchers independently completed and checked transcription to reduce personal biases.

2.3. Data analysis

Inductive thematic analysis was used to analyze the data ( Braun and Clarke, 2006 ) and data were analyzed using qualitative analysis software NVivo 10. The steps were as follows: (1) transcript reading, preliminary coding, and note-taking; (2) developing final codes by reading and rereading the transcripts to identify patterns and themes; (3) developing a thematic mind map; (4) defining and naming themes and sub-themes, and (5) preparing the final report with an analysis of the selected fragments. Data were analyzed by two researchers to ensure reliability, when other researchers examined and validated the data, codes, and analyses by holding regular research team meetings. Textual information was discussed by the researchers several times until a consensus was reached. In addition, the results of the preliminary analysis were shared with the participants for their reviews and comments. The analysis was done in Chinese and the quotes were then translated into English and checked by a native translator who was not involved with the data collection (see Table 2 for an example of the process).

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Table 2. Thematic analysis of transcribed data from interviews with 20 people with the online game “Glory of Kings”.

2.4. Ethical considerations

The studies involving human participants were reviewed and approved by the Ethics Committee of Wenzhou Medical University (2022-028). This study complies with the Helsinki Declaration’s guidelines. After obtaining both verbal and written information about the study, the participants signed informed consent. Written informed consent was obtained from the individuals for the participation in this study and the publication of any potentially identifiable images or data included in this article, and the data was password-protected and encrypted. Each participant was assigned a coding reference, which referred to the participant’s number and gender (i.e., M3 refers to respondent 3, Male gender). During the interviews, the researchers treated the participants with respect, listened intently, and responded to their questions.

Three themes were identified from the data material, namely, meeting the college student’s personal growth, satisfying the social needs of college students, and promoting academic performance.

3.1. Meeting the need for personal growth

3.1.1. relieve stress and achieve happiness.

Online games, because of the characteristics of confrontation, entertainment and challenge, make it a way for college students to vent their emotions. Most interviewees believe that the fast pace of university brings them great study pressure. Also, college students of different grades report different sources of stress, such as pressure from parents, peers, academics, etc. However, no matter what kind of stress leads to negative emotions, they can be relieved through entertainment games. Following are typical quotes from gamers who said that the game can relieve negative emotions and bring positive feelings.

Game is not a necessity, but I would occasionally indulge in it. I like to live happily in virtual games (M5, 20-year-old).
When encounter troubles, I choose to play a few rounds of games. Although the pleasure brought by the game is temporary, it could fade away the troubles (M1, 20-year-old).
I went through a particularly bad period last semester… Later, I fell in love with “Glory of Kings,” and sometimes I even stayed up late to play games… However, when I was addicted to games temporarily, my pressure was released, which provides enough energy and enthusiasm to face difficulties (F7, 19-year-old).

3.1.2. Overcome the shortcomings and gain self-awareness

Due to the nature of “Glory of Kings,” it provides a platform for college students to fully enhance their consciousness. The characteristics of the five different roles in this game can also further prompt players to recognize their shortcomings and provide a reference for players to understand themselves. Players whose self-awareness is not clear enough get a clearer understanding through the game, and players whose self-perception is vague or even sometimes wrong get a chance to correct it. Following are typical quotes from gamers who have better self-awareness.

Gradually, I started to think about the reason, until I realized that I lacked a sense of the big picture and cooperation. Since then, I’ve made a conscious effort to work with my team on offense, which provides me with a better chance of victory. In life, I also recognized similar shortcomings and corrected them (F1, 19-year-old).
I prefer to play the role as an assassin, but I’m always not good at it. Later, my teammates suggested that I should be bolder and more adventurous. Under the guidance and practice, I gradually became proficient (M12, 18-year-old).
I am an untalkative person in life, but through playing games, I try to actively communicate with my teammates and gradually become more cheerful and good at communication (F4, 19-year-old).

3.1.3. Gain achievement and self-realization

Contrary to the harsh real society, the virtual game world demonstrates a new relatively equal social environment in its unique way and rich content. College students can explore multiple identities by experiencing multiple avatars or changing the appearance of avatars, thereby creating a virtual self-image that is sometimes compensatory and even restorative. Following are typical quotes from gamers who said that the game can bring them positive feelings.

I may be an ordinary person in life, but being a core character in games brings confidence (M1, 20-year-old).

In the virtual world of online games, college students can present themselves without the constraints of the single evaluation system of academic performance in real life. It provides the best arena for college students to gain achievement and fulfill their needs.

Sometimes I feel inferior because of my poor academic performance, and my classmates often treat me with colored glasses… Ranking as a king in the game, many players are willing to team up with me, which gives me a sense of accomplishment and brings back the confidence I lost in real life.

3.2. Satisfying the need for social life

3.2.1. broaden the social network.

College students can make friends around the world with common interests in the virtual world. The game’s forum provides the means to initiate a chat or team invitations to skilled players, as well as the option to team up with players in the same city. Through this avenue, strangers can converse with each other across geographical distances and blur cultural boundaries. Following are typical quotes from gamers who widened the breadth of interpersonal communication.

I spend most of my time playing games with my real friends, sometimes accepting game invitations from strangers and meeting skilled friends (F4, 19-year-old).
Because of the game, I met people of different ages and professions who taught me about game operations (M6, 19-year-old).

3.2.2. Increase social interaction

Online games offer everyone a convenient way to socialize and reduce social costs. The majority of participants reported that they would choose “Glory of Kings” as a common hobby to better integrate into the surrounding circle of friends. And some students will consciously take some compensatory actions against their friends who do not play games to maintain their friendship. Following are typical quotes from gamers who widened the breadth of interpersonal communication.

Playing games with unfamiliar individuals could quickly promote mutual understanding (F7, 19-year-old; M4, 21-year-old).
Playing games together can promote communication between roommates and increase common language (F2, 19-year-old).
I have a friend who does not play games and I tried to teach her to play but she refused. So I would study or eat with her after finishing the game time, and our relationship has always been tight (F5, 19-year-old).

3.2.3. Value teamwork

In the game “Glory of Kings,” college students work as a team to promote friendship and learn from each other’s strengths. Cooperation is necessary for the progress of this game, and there is also a respondent who says he has transformed from a solitary player to a competent collaborator. Every interviewee agreed that they preferred to work with the team and were willing to do their best to cooperate with their teammates when playing the game and even sacrifice for teammates when necessary. Following are typical quotes from gamers who enjoyed teamwork.

Sometimes I could not figure it out on my own, but a team could succeed (M1, 20-year-old).
I used to fight alone when I think that just be happy with myself. But gradually I fell in love with playing in team battles and was happy to cooperate with the team. Meanwhile, if I do not focus on team cooperation, there will be no communication in the game, and the road to promotion will be bumpy (M3, 19-year-old).

3.3. Promoting academic performance

3.3.1. improve learning ability.

The topic of academics was constantly mentioned and excavated in the interviews. The interviewees mentioned that online games helped them to master some transferable skills, such as problem-solving ability, quick thinking ability, etc. These abilities are usually trained unconsciously in games, and the player is able to experience the corresponding ability improvements in the real world when the match is over. Following are typical quotes from gamers who improved their ability to learn.

By studying the characters’ skill matching and line-ups in the game, my mind seemed to be more flexible and my problem-solving efficiency improved (M8, 18-year-old).
In order to improve my game skills, I watched the live video of the game host and learned their skills. As time passed, I found it easier to follow the teacher’s explanation in class while I could not keep up with the teacher’s quick thinking before (F2, 19-year-old).

3.3.2. Increase interest in learning

The combination of abstract and complex knowledge with online games can change the current passive input education model and make students more interested and effective in learning. Following are typical quotes from gamers who said that they could accept the teaching content more effectively in the process of playing games.

The teacher introduced the historical relationships between different characters using the heroic characters from “Glory of Kings,” which suddenly made a sleepy history lesson come to life (F2, 19-year-old).

Some interviewees also proposed that combining the virtual currency obtained in the game with the correct rate of answering questions in the virtual classroom of college students can improve students’ classroom performance. Following are typical quotes from gamers who proposed that the mechanics of the game can be realized in the real world.

Using this way of learning can motivate me to arrange my online game time rationally, reduce my dependence on online games and enjoy studying more (F6, 20-year-old).

4. Discussion

This study examines whether “Glory of Kings” has a positive impact on college students. The qualitative nature of this study allows players to fully articulate specific aspects of their perspectives and allows researchers to analyze their views and attitudes in depth.

4.1. The impact on personal growth

Most participants in our study believe that the pressure in their university life can be relieved through online games which are consistent with the findings of Ari et al. (2020) . The pressure from various aspects, such as academics, family, and social lives, as well as the confusion about the future, bring contemporary college students under more psychological pressure. Online games make it a way for college students to escape from reality and vent their suppressed emotions, and some students also accompany the relief method of verbal catharsis in the process. These findings are similar to those of Pine et al. (2020) that college students enjoy the happiness that accompanies the release of stress when gaming.

College students are in an important period of strengthening their self-consciousness system. As a medium, “Glory of Kings” provides players with a competitive platform whose ultimate goal is victory. In order to continue to win, players need to constantly reflect and summarize ( Kow, 2017 ). Larsen (2020) proposed seven aspects of the skill theory framework to guide players to improve their skill level in the game. Therefore, players can correspond to the theoretical framework and reflect on their shortcomings and deficiencies. By having the opportunity to overcome shortcomings and reflect on themselves in the game world, ultimately a clearer self-awareness can be projected and benefit the player in the real world.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, the ultimate human need is self-actualization. Likewise, college students need to be respected and expect to gain achievement ( Zhong and Yao, 2013 ). Liao et al. (2017) proposed that people will form virtual personalities on the Internet through self-remodeling, while virtual personalities are often different from the real world. In real life, the differences in economic conditions, living areas, material conditions, status, and the increasingly fierce competition environment often limit college students’ achievement experience. In online games, the boundary between physical reality and virtual reality will be blurred by more personalized and immersive environments ( Young, 2009 ; Soutter and Hitchens, 2016 ; Kuo et al., 2017 ), resulting in a convenient way for college students to get achievements. Like the ordinary student M8, he was appreciated by others for his superb gaming skills. In conclusion, achieving self-worth and reaching potential are the goals to meet the need for self-actualization ( Liao et al., 2017 ).

4.2. The impact on interpersonal communication

In the case of “Glory of Kings,” which is a confrontation that unfolds by grouping, the system offers both the opportunity to form teams on one’s own and the option of random matching. Online games try to expand player interactivity and social friendships in the setting of game rules to attract more players, which coincides with the needs of college students to interact with people ( Ducheneaut and Moore, 2004 ). Linked to the trait of awakened autonomy among college students, they will establish emotional communication with like-minded friends they meet in “Glory of Kings,” and will also subjectively choose whom to team up with, which may be teammates they meet through the game or friends in the real world. The game provides a more comfortable communication platform for strangers in real life, thus widening the breadth of interpersonal communication.

Most of the participants in this research also tend to play “Glory of Kings” with their friends. According to the study by Croes and Antheunis (2021) , people’s intimacy is directly proportional to the frequency of interaction. Consistent with the conclusion of Lai and Fung (2019) , college students will not alienate their friends and feel lonely because of excessive investment in playing games. On the contrary, the emotions and experiences shared in the virtual game world can strengthen the bond between them ( Granic et al., 2014 ). College students can fight side by side with their friends in the gaming world, and discuss gaming skills together offline. The game does not destroy or isolate their relationships. On the contrary, the tacit cooperation and communication between players in the game make the relationship closer.

Most of our participants recognize that they liked the teamwork model of “Glory of Kings.” Consist to the study by Chen and Chang (2020) , a MOBA mobile game, it simulates a real-world situation in which temporary teams of strangers complete complex tasks in a short period. It can provide players with a unique platform for teamwork in such scenarios where social relationships need to be established quickly. It is further suggested in the study of Ewoldsen et al. (2012) that this can increase pro-social behaviors outside of the game environment, such as social and civic activities. It follows that teams derive satisfaction from existence, which is part of the meaning of collective effort. Choosing the group and cooperating to reach the same goals is precisely what is essential in real life as well.

4.3. The impact on academic performance

Contrary to conventional beliefs that playing games is intellectually lazy and sedating, playing games is shown to promote a wide range of cognitive skills ( Granic et al., 2014 ). Compared with non-gamers, gamers show faster and more accurate attention allocation, and higher spatial resolution enhanced mental rotation in visual processing, these skills are transferred to other spatial tasks outside the game context ( Green and Bavelier, 2012 ). In addition, scholars speculate that problem-solving skills can also be developed. On the whole, there are many good principles of learning built into good online games ( Adachi and Willoughby, 2013 ), which could be applied to school learning tomorrow.

For this generation that grows up with the Internet, online games are an integral medium of communication and learning and have great potential for schools and workplaces to increase engagement, creativity and lifelong learning skills ( Gee, 2003 ; Turkay and Adinolf, 2012 ; Granic et al., 2014 ). From the existing overall analysis results, the condition of the online games has more positive learning effect than traditional teaching condition. In addition to improving learning and memory ( Sitzmann, 2011 ; Wouters et al., 2013 ), online gameplay has the potential to motivate individuals to participate in educational settings to improve students’ interest in learning ( Clark et al., 2016 ).

4.4. Suggestions for parents and college management

By considering both the negative effects and potential benefits of the existence of games, many scholars proposed some balanced perspectives on the use of games for real-world personal growth with the intervention and supervision of a third party. The influence of the family is a pivotal factor, as it contributes significantly to the socialization of adolescents ( Liu et al., 2015 ). Parental regulation through restrictive mediation or conversational mediation in adolescents’ gaming is one important factor that may limit adolescents’ gaming behavior ( Colasante et al., 2022 ).

On the other hand, it is unscientific for parents to blindly prohibit their children from online games ( Chen et al., 2020 ). More and more parents accept the Internet and games as valuable learning tools ( Willoughby, 2008 ). Those parents help children become consumers to judge the advantages of games, plan a variety of leisure activities, mediate violent temptation games, and help children find the meaning of online games through positive communication ( Chiu et al., 2004 ). Indeed, co-playing games with parents are associated with heightened prosocial behavior for girls ( Coyne et al., 2011 ). In addition, researchers suggest that adolescents who receive the correct family education for the online game may learn ways to meet basic needs and self-control ( Griffiths and Meredith, 2009 ; Liu et al., 2015 ; Chen et al., 2020 ). Parents should create a harmonious family atmosphere by continuously improving their parenting skills and building close relationships with their children, which is in line with the suggestions of Chiu et al. (2004) . Meanwhile, parents should keep in touch with teachers to understand their children’s confusion as well as their use of the Internet at school to actively cooperate with the school’s policies.

Schools are digital education providers and prevention centers. Our results suggested that educators can take advantage of game-based education to facilitate problem-solving ability and to increase the study interests of college students ( Whitton and MacLure, 2017 ). Moreover, universities or colleges can use online games as a potentially useful and beneficial educational tool to promote students’ positive emotions. For example, a school in Seoul, South Korea, set up an online game course that covers the humanities of games, game terminology, game manipulation, Q&A with professional players, and game science to positively impact students at different grades and schools in public education sites ( Choi and Bang, 2021 ).

Many colleges and universities in China nowadays create electronic competitive social organizations and used network games in their daily teaching, not only to enrich students’ extracurricular life, but also to provide a platform for college students to find like-minded friends to play online games reasonably. Furthermore, some universities or colleges combine health education of online games with ideological and political work and try to establish college students’ mental profiles to understand their overall psychological conditions when they are playing online games. More strategies are needed to maximize the positive impact of online games on college students and help them grow healthily.

5. Implication

Despite the negative perception of online games in the Chinese cultural context, our study re-examines the impact of online games from the gamer’s perspective. To a certain extent, online games meet the personalized requirements of college students’ personal growth in Chinese collectivist culture, realize the need for the social interaction satisfaction, and enhance creativity in learning ( Chen and Chang, 2020 ). The higher education nowadays should more scientifically guide teachers and parents to change their attitudes toward online games and recognize the benefits of online games ( Whitton and MacLure, 2017 ). Meanwhile, the advantages of online games can be exploited to benefit more students by promoting their problem-solving ability through game-based education, contributing to more productive physical and mental health and learning ( Granic et al., 2014 ).

6. Limitation

Although this study shows that “Glory of Kings” has a positive impact on contemporary college students, it should be noted that the data are cross-sectional and longitudinal studies are still needed to confirm the long-term impact of “Glory of Kings” on college students. Secondly, the data is only derived from the feedback that respondents actively self-reported, which means that there may be some hidden part of the self-reflection content of respondents. Thirdly, relevant quantitative studies can be carried out to further verify and analyze the results of this study.

7. Conclusion

In this study, it is found that meeting the need for personal growth, satisfying the need for social life and promoting academic performance are the main positive effects of playing online games. Some suggestions that enhance the supportive role of online games are structured for family and college education.

Data availability statement

The original contributions presented in this study are included in the article/supplementary material, further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding authors.

Ethics statement

The studies involving human participants were reviewed and approved by the Ethics Committee of Wenzhou Medical University (2022-028). Written informed consent was obtained from the individual for the publication of any potentially identifiable images or data included in this article.

Author contributions

FL and DZ contributed to the conceptualization and writing—original draft. SW was in charge of the data collection and analysis. RZ assisted in data collation and analysis as well as literature search. CD and JZ contributed to the writing, reviewing, and editing. All authors contributed to manuscript revision, read, and approved the submitted version.

This research was supported by the Wenzhou Science and Technology Bureau Project (R20220086) and Zhejiang Province Curriculum Ideological and Political Education Research Project.

Acknowledgments

We would like to express gratitude to the colleagues who offered constructive and illuminating feedback, and to Guohua Zhang and Bingling Xia, who helped shape earlier versions of this article with their comments.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher’s note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

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Keywords : college students, online games, Glory of Kings, personal growth, social life, academic performance, qualitative study

Citation: Li F, Zhang D, Wu S, Zhou R, Dong C and Zhang J (2023) Positive effects of online games on the growth of college students: A qualitative study from China. Front. Psychol. 14:1008211. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1008211

Received: 31 July 2022; Accepted: 13 February 2023; Published: 24 February 2023.

Reviewed by:

Copyright © 2023 Li, Zhang, Wu, Zhou, Dong and Zhang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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† These authors have contributed equally to this work and share first authorship

‡ These authors have contributed equally to this work and share last authorship

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Playing games: advancing research on online and mobile gaming consumption

Internet Research

ISSN : 1066-2243

Article publication date: 9 April 2019

Issue publication date: 9 April 2019

Seo, Y. , Dolan, R. and Buchanan-Oliver, M. (2019), "Playing games: advancing research on online and mobile gaming consumption", Internet Research , Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 289-292. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-04-2019-542

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Introduction

Computer games consistently generate more revenue than the movie and music industries and have become one of the most ubiquitous symbols of popular culture ( Takahashi, 2018 ). Recent technological developments are changing the ways in which consumers are able to engage with computer games as individuals – adult gamers, parents and children ( Christy and Kuncheva, 2018 ) – and as collectives, such as communities, networks and subcultures ( Hamari and Sjöblom, 2017 ; Seo, 2016 ). In particular, with the proliferation of online and mobile technologies, we have witnessed the emergence of newer forms of both computer games themselves (e.g. advertising games (advergames), virtual and augmented reality games and social media games) ( Rauschnabel et al. , 2017 ) and of gaming practices (e.g. serious gaming, hardcore gaming and eSports) ( Seo, 2016 ).

It is, therefore, not surprising that the issues concerning the ways computer games consumption is changing in light of these technological developments have received much attention across diverse disciplines of social sciences, such as marketing (e.g. Seo et al. , 2015 ), information systems (e.g. Liu et al. , 2013 ), media studies (e.g. Giddings, 2016 ) and internet research (e.g. Hamari and Sjöblom, 2017 ). The purpose of this introductory paper to the special issue “Online and mobile gaming” is to chart future research directions that are relevant to a rapidly changing postmodern digital gaming landscape. In this endeavor, this paper first provides an integrative summary of the six articles that comprise this special issue, and then draws the threads together in order to elicit the agenda for future research.

An integrative summary of the special issue

The six articles that were selected for this special issue advance research into online and mobile gaming in several ways. The opening article by Pappas, Mikalef, Giannakos and Kourouthanassis draws attention to the complex ecosystem of mobile applications in which multiple factors influence consumer behavior in mobile games. Pappas and his colleagues shed light on how price value, game content quality, positive and negative emotions, gender, and gameplay time interact with one another to predict the intention to download mobile games. This study offers useful insights by demonstrating how fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis methodology can be applied to advance research into computer games consumption.

The study by Bae, Kim, Kim and Koo addresses the digital virtual consumption that occurs within computer games. This second paper explores the relationship between in-game items and mood management to determine the affective value of purchasing in-game items. The findings reveal that game users manage their levels of arousal and mood valence through the use of in-game purchases, suggesting that stressed users are more likely to purchase decorative items, whereas bored users tend to purchase functional items. This study offers an informative perspective of how mood management and selective exposure theories can be applied to understand the in-game purchases. Continuing this theme, the third study by Bae, Park and Koo investigates the effect of perceived corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Park and colleagues extend previous research by identifying important motivational mechanisms, such as self-esteem and compassion, which link CSR initiative perceptions with the intentions to purchase in-game items.

The fourth and fifth studies of this special issue draw our attention to the use of avatars and game characters. Liao, Cheng and Teng use social identity and flow theories to construct a novel model that explains how avatar attractiveness and customization impact loyalty among online game consumers. In the fifth study, Choi explores the importance of game character characteristics being congruent with product types in order to make advergames more persuasive.

The final study by Lee and Ko reviews the predictors of game addiction based on loneliness, motivation and inter-personal competence. The findings of these authors suggest that regulatory focus mediates the effect of loneliness on online game addiction, and that inter-personal competence significantly buffers the indirect effect of loneliness on online game addiction. This study advances our knowledge about online game addiction through an investigation of the important role played by loneliness.

Future directions for research

Taken together, our introductory commentary and the six empirical studies that make up this special issue deepen and broaden the current understanding of how online and mobile technologies augment the consumption of computer games. In this final section of our paper, we outline potential directions for future research.

First, this special issue highlights that computer games consumption is a diverse interdisciplinary phenomenon, where important issues range from establishing the factors that determine the adoption of particular computer games to what consumers do within these games; from whether computer games enhance consumer well-being (e.g. Howes et al. , 2017 ), to whether they engender addiction (e.g. Frölich et al. , 2016 ); and from establishing how computer gaming experiences are influenced by internal psychological mechanisms to querying the effects of broader social aspects of consumer lives on computer games consumption ( Kowert et al. , 2015 ). Informed by these findings, we assert that as computer games consumption becomes more complex and interactive, incorporating more technology brought about by the proliferation of online and mobile gaming, it is important that our theorizing follows by tracking the mutual imbrication of consumers, play, technology, culture, well-being and other salient issues.

Computer games consumption is a phenomenon of global significance, which is reflected by the international interest that we have received for this special issue. This prompts us to consider similarities and differences in the ways that computer games are consumed across cultures ( Elmezeny and Wimmer, 2018 ). Many computer games themselves now foster intercultural, multicultural and transcultural experiences ( Cruz et al. , 2018 ) by enabling consumers from different countries and regions to connect and build relationships within the shared virtual space. How do such experiences shape the consumption of computer games? This gap in the literature has been previously noted ( Seo et al. , 2015 ), but it has not been either sufficiently detailed or theorised. Future studies should explore the role of various transcultural experiences and practices within online and mobile games consumption.

Finally, one increasingly promising area for future research is the rise of virtual reality (VR) applications. Although the earliest references to VR date back to the 1990s (e.g. Gigante, 1993 ), it has been only recently that technological developments have allowed VR to evolve from a niche technology into an everyday phenomenon that is readily available to consumers ( Lamkin, 2017 ; Oleksy and Wnuk, 2017 ). Given that VR is an experientially distinct medium, how will it augment computer games consumption experiences and practices? Will it foster more diverse applications of computer games across various aspects of consumer lives (e.g. Tussyadiah et al. , 2018 ), or will it increase computer games addiction (e.g. Chou and Ting, 2003 )? What are the current and future intersections between VR technology, online and mobile games, and how are they likely to develop and affect consumers? We envision that these and many other questions related to the application and proliferation of VR technology in computer games consumption will be an exceptionally fruitful area for future research.

In summary, we hope that this paper and the special issue, with its emphasis on online and mobile gaming, will offer new insights for researchers and practitioners who are interested in the advancement of research on computer games consumption.

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Cruz , A.G.B. , Seo , Y. and Buchanan-Oliver , M. ( 2018 ), “ Religion as a field of transcultural practices in multicultural marketplaces ”, Journal of Business Research , Vol. 91 , pp. 317 - 325 .

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Tussyadiah , I.P. , Wang , D. , Jung , T.H. and tom Dieck , M.C. ( 2018 ), “ Virtual reality, presence and attitude change: empirical evidence from tourism ”, Tourism Management , Vol. 66 , pp. 140 - 154 .

Acknowledgements

The guest editors would like to offer special thanks to the Editor of Internet Research , Christy Cheung, for supporting the publication of this special issue. The guest editors would also like to thank all of the authors who contributed to this research for the “Online and mobile gaming” special issue. Finally, the guest editors gratefully acknowledge the contribution of reviewers, who generously spent their time in helping to review submissions: Luke Butcher, Curtin University, Australia; Hsiu-Hua Chang, Feng Chia University, Taiwan; I-Cheng Chang, National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan; Chi-Wen Chen, California State University, USA; Zifei Fay Chen, University of San Francisco, USA; Sujeong Choi, Chonnam National University, Korea; Diego Costa Pinto, New University of Lisbon, Portugal; Angela Cruz, Monash University, Australia; Robert Davis, Massey University, New Zealand; Julia Fehrer, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Tony Garry, University of Otago, New Zealand; Tracy Harwood, De Montfort University, UK; Mu Hu, Beihang University, China; Tseng-Lung Huang, Yuan Ze University, Taiwan; Kun-Huang Huang, Feng Chia University, Taiwan; Chelsea Hughes, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA; Euejung Hwang, Otago University, New Zealand; Sang-Uk Jung, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Korea; Kacy Kim, Bryant University, USA; Dong-Mo Koo, Kyungpook National University, Korea; Jun Bum Kwon, University of New South Wales, Australia; Chun-Chia Lee, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan; Jacob Chaeho Lee, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Korea; Loic Li, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Marcel Martončik, University of Presov, Slovakia; Mike Molesworth, University of Reading, UK; Gavin Northey, University of Auckland, New Zealand; James Richard, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand; Ryan Rogers, University of Pennsylvania, USA; Felix Septianto, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Zhen Shao, Harbin Institute of Technology, China; Kai-Shuan Shen, Fo Guang University, Taiwan; Jungmin Son, Chungnam National University; Korea; Yang Sun, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, China; Eva van Reijmersdal, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands; Ekant Veer, University of Canterbury, New Zealand; John Velez, Indiana University, USA; Wei-Tsong Wang, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan; Ya-Ling Wu, Tamkang University, Taiwan; Sheau-Fen Yap, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand; and Sukki Yoon, Bryant University, USA.

Corresponding author

About the authors.

Yuri Seo is Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland of Business School, New Zealand. His research interests include digital technology and consumption, cultural branding and multicultural marketplaces.

Rebecca Dolan is Lecturer at the University of Adelaide School of Business, Australia. Her research focuses on understanding, facilitating and optimizing customer relationships, engagement, and online communication strategies. She has a specific interest in the role that digital and social media play in the modern marketing communications environment.

Margo Buchanan-Oliver is Professor in the Department of Marketing and the Co-Director of the Centre of Digital Enterprise (CODE) at the University of Auckland Business School. Her research concerns interdisciplinary consumption discourse and practice, particularly that occurring at the intersection of the digital and physical worlds.

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Effects Of Online Games in Academic Performance Among Senior High School

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RODICA, PAULINE DENISE V. AND TALANIA, HANES ANDREW Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Mount Carmel School of Maria Aurora (MCSMA), Silvestre Street Brgy. 2, Maria Aurora, Aurora, zip code 3202, in the school year 2019-2020. “EFFECTS OF ONLINE GAMES IN ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AMONG SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL (SHS) STUDENTSOF MOUNT CARMEL SCHOOL OF MARIA AURORA.” The study dealt with the Effects of Online Games in Academic Performance among Senior High School (SHS) Students of Mount Carmel School of Maria Aurora. This aimed to determine the effects of online games among SHS in MCSMA. There were one hundred fifty + one (151) respondents which are composed of males and females from Academic Tracks which are Accountancy, Business and Management strand (ABM), General Academic strand (GAS), Humanities and Social Sciences strand (HUMSS). The study was laid out in descriptive design where researcher formulated questionnaire through Likert Scale. By collecting answers received from the surveys given out to the respondents, each criteria was tallied and was divided to the total number of tallies of all criteria; then, the quotient was converted to a percentage by multiplying it to 100. The parameters used to evaluate the result were the effects of online games among SHS in MCSMA. The result of the study showed that online game have negative effect to academic performance of Senior High School students of MCSMA. Study revealed that online gaming has a huge impact among them regarding on their academic performance which lead them to poor or low grade and physical distress as well. Majority of the respondents are replied and favored that online games gave negative outcome to their study and health. They found out that the students cannot focus on their studies, they cannot do their home works as well as their projects and that they have low grades. Based on the general result, the researchers conclude that a number of students playing online games could have a negative effect in their academic performance. Furthermore, students, teachers, and parents must be aware of the effects of playing online games and should regulate the time playing such game because it could ruin every students focus on their study. Students should be disciplined when it comes to playing online games which they could still perform satisfactorily in their studies and it should not be given much priority over higher and more realistic priorities.

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Dr. Rose Wyatt

This study determined the effect of computer games on the academic performance of grade six pupils in selected catholic schools in Davao City during the school year 2012-2013. This research was initiated to identify the game type most suitable to our teaching environment and to identify game elements that students found interesting or useful within the different game types. This study looked into the following: (1) the profile of the pupil-respondents in terms of (1) Pupils’ Profile: (1.1) gender; (1.2) parental monitoring; (1.3) type of computer games; (1.4) number of hours spent in playing on the computer; (1.5) game systems used. (2) Behavioral Factors: (2.1) pupils’ attitudes towards computer games; (2.2) study habits; (2.3) teachers’ perceptions about the pupils’ behaviour. (2) the academic performance of the pupils in terms of the following subjects: (2.1) English, Science and Mathematics. (3) the significant relationship between the academic performance of the pupil-respondents and the hours spent in playing computer games? The descriptive research design was employed in the study with the questionnaire as the instrument. The study made use of purposive sampling on the pupil-respondents and parent-respondents and random sampling in the selection of the teacher- respondents. The respondents were selected from three catholic schools namely: Ateneo de Davao University presently located in Matina, Davao City, Our Lady of Fatima Academy situated at Fatima St., Davao City and Assumption College of Davao in Cabagiuo St.,Davao City. The respondents were twenty-seven (27) teachers, and 218 pupils along with their parents. The analytical design was used in this study including the testing of the null hypothesis were the central tendency to utilize in the descriptive part of the analysis of data. Pearson-Product Moment of Correlation was used to test the reliability of the research instrument. Analysis of Variance was used to measure the significant difference between the academic performance of the pupils and the hours spent in playing computer games. On Respondents’ Profile, out of 218 pupil-respondents, there were 112 boys or (51.4 percent) and 106 girls or (48.6 percent). There were more boys than girls-respondents. On the other hand, on parental monitoring, out of ten indicators, five were rated agree. The parents want to monitor and guide their children because they know the positive and negative effects of playing computer games. This further revealed that pupils who are supported very well by their parents perform well in their studies. However, four of the indicators were rated disagree by the parents. The pupils strongly agree that playing computer games is for fun because they enjoy them. Whereas at school they are required to study many subjects that are boring to them. Playing computer games is actually an escape from the rigid rules and regulations they must follow at school. On the types of computer games played by the pupil-respondents, children answered with a multiple response. The majority of the respondents played action/fighting games. Second, are the online gaming sites followed by adventure & RPG Games, puzzle games, simulation, social networking sites and the last is the card games. The average of hours that the pupil-respondents played is three to four (3-4) hours in a day. Pupils have multiple responses about the game systems they used in playing computer games. Most of the respondents used the PC game system which was followed in use by the portable , table/phone and console game system. Pupils rated agree on the indicators that interactive games improve their logical thinking and reasoning; help them to become more computer literate; and creative; keep from getting bored until their friends are available to play and make new friends as well as strengthening their relationships with old friends. The pupils think that playing computer games is a positive experience to them and not a negative experience like their teachers, parents and other role models seem to believe. On study habits, the majority of the pupils studied their lessons on an average of 0-1 hour a day. On teachers’ perception on pupils’ behavior, the teacher-respondents agreed that playing computer manifests better computer skills and knowledge of facts, exhibits motor skills and hand-eye coordination and gain other skills, enhances creativity and inculcates a taste for graphics, and design and technology. However, it also manifests aggressive behaviors such as gets in many fights, cruelty, bullying, or meanness to others, doesn’t seem to feel guilty after misbehaving; develops attention problems like daydreaming (getting lost in thought and staring blankly); exhibits a decline in school achievements(repeated low grade, poor school work). On academic performance by subject, the pupil-respondents generally received a fair (80-84) to good (85-89) rating. Thus, their rating means that playing computer games do not have significant effect on their academic performance. However, there is an impact on their behaviour based on various researches. It was noted that English and Mathematics have no significant difference in the academic performance of the pupil-respondents in relation to hours spent in playing computer games. The result showed that thirty-seven percent explains the variation of the pupils’ academic performance which is due to playing computer games while sixty-three percent went to other factors that affect their performance in school. However, Science subjects showed significance on their academic performance. Perhaps, this subject requires a higher level of thinking skills. Some factors can be considered why these pupils did not perform in the said subject due to pupils’ study habits, attitudes towards the subject, thinking skills, peer and media influences. From the results and conclusions, it is recommended that the policy maker and school administrators will intensify the integration of Information Technology in the existing curriculum, improve lesson plan making using the computer –aided instructions (CAI) and provide more trainings/ seminars/ workshops/ to teachers that will equip them with IT skills. Lastly, design a Homeroom Guidance (HG) Activity on the effect of playing of computer games in their life.

Psychology and Education: A Multidisciplinary Journal

Psychology and Education

In modern society, computers have become almost a non-negotiable part of every individual's life. Then this is bound to have both positive and negative consequences on people. Because of this many young children and individuals anywhere can become addicted to playing such games online and offline gaming. It became a huge distraction to the academic performance of the learners by being addicted to computer games. The main goal of this study was to determine the level of understanding on playing in computer games and academic performance of learners in Sultan Palao Ali Memorial Elementary School, SPAMES (127217), Tagoloan District, Division of Lanao del Norte. The study used descriptive-correlational research design. Descriptive research determined the profile of elementary learners of Sultan Palao Ali Elementary School located at Barangay Inagonan, Tagoloan Lanao, Del Norte and the level of understanding on playing in computer games and the academic performance of the respondents. Based on the results of the study, most of the learners at Sultan Palao Ali Elementary School, Tagoloan District, Division of Lanao del Norte, were age ranges from 11-13, females and in satisfactory level as to their academic performance. In the level of understanding of playing computer games of the respondents, among the indicators of the level of understanding, the indicator "Playing computer games can enhance the accuracy/speed of my hands), got the highest mean score which can also be interpreted in the agreed level, while the indicator "Playing computer games can increase my empathy and supports my mental well-being) garnered the lowest mean of 1.80, which can be interpreted in the disagreed level in which the respondents believed that playing computer games negatively impacted their health. Further, in correlation, the null hypothesis, which states that there is no significant relationship between academic performance and profile in terms of age, was not rejected, while sex was rejected. At the same time, the null hypothesis, which states that there is no significant relationship between academic performance and the level of understanding of playing computer games, was also rejected. Furthermore, in the regression analysis, the null hypothesis stating that "there is no variable/s best predict the academic performance" was rejected.

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Video Games—Cognitive Help or Hindrance?

  • 1 Division of Neuroradiology, Department of Radiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • Original Investigation Association of Video Gaming With Cognitive Performance Among Children Bader Chaarani, PhD; Joseph Ortigara, MS; DeKang Yuan, MS; Hannah Loso, PhD; Alexandra Potter, PhD; Hugh P. Garavan, PhD JAMA Network Open
  • Letter Notice of Retraction and Replacement Bader Chaarani, PhD; Joseph Ortigara, MS; DeKang Yuan, MS; Hannah Loso, PhD; Alexandra Potter, PhD; Hugh P. Garavan, PhD JAMA Network Open

The increasing time devoted to video gaming by both adolescents and young adults during the past 2 decades has led to a spirited debate about the effect of this pastime on both individuals and societies. Stakeholders in this conversation include the burgeoning electronic gaming industry, video gamers, parents, educators, health care professionals, and governments. China has recently imposed a nationwide rule limiting online video gaming to 3 hours a week to protect youth. In contrast, proponents of video games around the world have claimed both educational and cognitive benefits for participants.

To clarify the impact of video games on personal and societal health, neuroscientists have researched the effects of video gaming on the human brain, an effort that has included many functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. As part of this widening investigation, Chaarani and colleagues 1 studied the neurocognitive ramifications of playing video games by analyzing publicly available fMRI data from the National Institutes of Health–sponsored Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study cohort. In their analysis, published in this issue of JAMA Network Open , the authors discovered that 9- and 10-year-old children who played at least 21 hours of video games per week demonstrated higher levels of performance on fMRI emotional working memory (n = 679) and response inhibition tasks (n = 800) compared with a group of similarly aged control individuals who did not routinely play video games. Moreover, the patterns of cerebral cortical blood oxygenation level–dependent fMRI activation exhibited during these tasks statistically differed between groups when assessed with a false discovery rate–corrected P value of .05, suggesting differing methods of cerebral function.

This analysis, among the largest reported in the literature, adds to a heterogeneous body of data suggesting that regular video game participation alters cerebral cortical responses to some types of stimuli and may confer certain cognitive advantages. In other fMRI studies of video gamers, improved performance was found in the gamer group in such diverse cognitive domains as visual responsiveness, 2 executive function, 3 and reward system stamina. 4 However, the results of some fMRI studies have been less favorable for video gamers. For example, some fMRI evidence indicates that players of first-person shooter games experience blunted emotional responses to violent stimuli. 5 Despite often conflicting conclusions, 6 the body of evidence that the brains of video gamers may exhibit certain functional variances compared with the brains of non–videogamers, at least when assessed by fMRI, is increasing.

Making any recommendations based on fMRI studies of video gaming is challenging. By the nature of their design, most fMRI studies on this topic fail to establish causality between video gaming and purported brain functional alterations. Some studies may simply be uncovering inherent brain characteristics that lead certain individuals to gravitate toward video gaming. If, in fact, video games are altering neurocognition, the longevity of any cerebral changes induced by this activity remains largely unknown.

An additional concern is that the umbrella term video games includes a wide variety of individual game styles, including abstract tests of visuospatial coordination, fantasy community building, role-playing, virtual vehicular races, and military-style first-person shooter games. Consequently, one must also ask to what degree the specific variety of video games pursued by participants influences cognitive changes. To this point, Chaarani and colleagues 1 reported the number of hours their research participants devoted to video games on a weekly basis; however, the specific makeup of those games remains unknown. Although much research has been directed at the effects of violent video games on the limbic system, other styles of video games have garnered much less interest among researchers.

Another important question that remains unanswered is whether task-based fMRI is a neutral testing mechanism for assessing the cerebral consequences of video games. In many ways, undergoing a task-based fMRI examination is much like playing a video game. Within the confines of the scanner, fMRI participants commonly view various forms of visual stimuli by means of a liquid-crystal display screen or video goggles. Many fMRI tasks require the examinee to respond to these stimuli by pushing buttons on a small handheld device. This testing format may favor video gamers who have spent many hours using a game controller to respond to a variety of stimuli presented on a television screen. Beyond fMRI, many neurocognitive tests are likewise administered using a video-style format. Much more testing certainly needs to be performed on the brains of video gamers without the use of video screens. By doing so, we may come to understand whether the positive or negative cognitive effects of these games have implications beyond the realm of interacting with gaming consoles.

In conclusion, through their analysis of an fMRI data set from large ABCD cohort, Chaarani and colleagues 1 have contributed yet another piece to the puzzle regarding the influence of video gaming on cognitive function and health. Their results suggest a possible benefit to video gaming in the realm of working memory and executive response inhibition. However, large gaps in our knowledge on this topic persist, including such issues as causality, the influence of video game styles, and the impact of any bias introduced by a video-based testing environment. Much future research will be required to address such knowledge deficits before scientific evidence can guide health recommendations or societal policy.

Published: October 24, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.35729

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License . © 2022 Welker KM. JAMA Network Open .

Corresponding Author: Kirk M. Welker, MD, Division of Neuroradiology, Department of Radiology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55902 ( [email protected] ).

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

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Welker KM. Video Games—Cognitive Help or Hindrance? JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(10):e2235729. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.35729

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Paying for beloved game characters: congruence with ideal others predicts purchase intention

  • Published: 04 May 2024

Cite this article

research study about online games

  • Yunheng Wang 1 ,
  • Xianglong Zeng   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-4793-7146 1 ,
  • Kaiyuan Wan 1 ,
  • Zizhen Zhou 1 ,
  • Zhiyin Ye 1 ,
  • Xuxin Shan 1 &
  • Yanding Wang 1  

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The game industry is booming and has received increasing attention from researchers in recent years. While many researchers have taken an interest in the congruence between game avatars and the ideal/actual self of players, the current study provided an initial exploration of ideal other-image congruence (i.e., congruence between the game character and the image of the player’s ideal others, such as ideal lovers, friends, etc.) and its relationship with purchase intention. The present study comprised a sample of 11,586 players of a role-play game (Genshin Impact) who took an online survey that assessed ideal self-/actual self-/ideal other-/actual other-image congruence, character liking, character attachment, and purchase intention. The results demonstrated that (i) ideal other-image congruence outweighs other image congruence variables, (ii) ideal other-image congruence has the highest correlation with purchase intention and (iii) character liking and character attachment mediate the relationship between ideal other-image congruence and purchase intention. The present study provided the first evidence for the existence and potential importance of ideal other-image congruence, and multiple directions of future research from this new perspective are discussed.

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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 32200896).

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Student Opinion

What Do You Like About Playing Games?

What games do you love? Which ones do you like playing alone, and which do you prefer to play with others? What do you get from gaming?

People sitting around a table in a cafe playing a board game.

By Katherine Schulten

Teachers , we also have a related lesson plan about teaching with seven New York Times games .

Online or in real life, alone or with others, on a road trip, in a backyard, around a table, or on a screen: What games do you most enjoy playing? Why?

Whether you listed chess, Minecraft, Monopoly, basketball, Call of Duty, Tetris, Dungeons & Dragons, charades, crosswords, tag or Wordle, when, where and with whom are you most likely to play?

How does playing games improve your life?

In 2020, Sam Von Ehren posed the question, Why do people love games?

As the Game Maker for The New York Times, I grapple with this question every day. The reductively easy answer is simple: They’re fun! But why are they fun? Do they have to be fun? As we dig deeper and deeper, we find more questions. What even is a game? What is fun? My take on the appeal of games is also simple, if paradoxical. Games are a controlled form of freedom. Our brains grab onto them because they are structures that exist to be avoided. Games occupy a strange place in our cultural consciousness. Nearly everyone has played a game at some point in their lives. Despite that ubiquity, games are rarely discussed with the same reverence as other media like films or books. For most, games are like chocolate: a guilty pleasure consumed secretly. The game designer Sid Meier once remarked that “a game is a series of interesting choices.” Navigating these choices shapes the course of play, revealing who we are and how we think. Playing a game is an act of exposition.

More recent New York Times pieces have focused on how a new generation is changing the classics. For instance, in “ Gen Z Wanted a Scrabble More Conducive to Hanging Out. Mattel Was Happy to Oblige ,” Deb Amlen writes:

The release of Scrabble Together in Europe this week marks the first time that the game’s rules have changed since it was patented in 1948. While Mattel owns the rights to the game in much of the world, Hasbro owns the rights to Scrabble in the United States and has no plans at this time to expand the game. In the new version, a double-sided board offers the traditional game on one side and Together mode on the other. Instead of competing to see who can score the most points and show off their knowledge of obscure two-letter words, Scrabble Together encourages working with friends to conquer predetermined challenges. Players win Scrabble Together when they complete 20 challenges. If players have used up all the helper cards and cannot complete a goal, they must concede. The idea behind Together mode was to make the game more interactive and inclusive, said Ray Adler, vice president and global head of games at Mattel. Research conducted by the company revealed that competition was not as important to younger players as having a way to connect with others and have fun. The new version prioritizes teamwork in order to adapt to those changing values.

And in “ How Gen Z Made the Crossword Their Own ,” Adrienne Raphel explores how a younger generation of constructors is using an old form to reflect their identities, language and world. The article begins:

30-Across: “___ and dry food (categories I will now be using to describe human food. Oh, so suddenly it’s weird?)” 31-Across: “TikTok videos of ‘Family Guy’ clips accompanied by Subway Surfers gameplay, e.g.” 26-Down: “Lili ___, one of the first trans women to receive gender-affirming surgery” Who’s this “I” cracking jokes about WET food in the middle of a crossword clue? What is SLUDGE CONTENT doing inside a puzzle? How did we get to learn about Lili Elbe when the answer ELBE almost always refers to the German river ? Welcome to the crossword in the age of Gen Z. Clues require internet meme literacy . Solutions may reflect the identity of the person behind the puzzle. And the way they’re constructed can involve vibrant online forums in addition to scraps of paper.

Students, read any or all of these articles, then answer as many of the following questions as you like:

What are your favorite games, whether they’re ones that everyone knows or niche games you play alone, with friends or with your family? When do you most enjoy playing them?

If answers don’t come to mind immediately, consider categories. What, to you, are the best physical games? The best games you play on your phone? Your favorites on a gaming platform? The best card games? Board games? Games of skill? Games of luck?

What’s the longest time you’ve ever spent playing a game? Why do you think it kept your attention?

If you have a choice, do you prefer playing games in easy, medium or hard mode?

What were your favorite games in childhood?

How have you evolved as a game player? What have you learned from playing games?

How has gaming improved your life? What skills, if any, have you developed as a player that you have used in other areas of your life, such as at school?

What games do you least enjoy? Why?

Have you or your friends or family ever made up a game? If so, what were the rules?

Have you ever created a character for a game that helped you express yourself?

Do you agree with Mr. Von Ehren that games are helpful for “revealing who we are and how we think”? If so, what does game-playing reveal about you?

Do you enjoy watching others play games, whether in person or, say, on Twitch?

Have you found or created a community through gaming? Who is in that community, and what do you enjoy about being part of it?

Have you ever attended a game night, played at a game cafe, joined a gaming club or done any other kind of social bonding over games? What was the experience like?

Do you play games in school? Do you think your teachers should incorporate more? If so, which should they include? Why?

Some of the articles we included above are about how Generation Z is changing games that have been around for decades, like crosswords and Scrabble. Do you think your generation plays games differently than others? For instance, do you agree with Mattel’s findings that “competition was not as important to younger players as having a way to connect with others and have fun”? What have you noticed about how you, your friends and your peers play games?

What other classic games would you like to see reinvented for a new generation of players? How, and why?

Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public and may appear in print.

Find more Student Opinion questions here. Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate these prompts into your classroom.

Katherine Schulten has been a Learning Network editor since 2006. Before that, she spent 19 years in New York City public schools as an English teacher, school-newspaper adviser and literacy coach. More about Katherine Schulten

research study about online games

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University of Ottawa event calendar from May 6 to 12, 2024

uOttawa campus

A Church at War WHEN: Tuesday, May 7 from 12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. WHERE:  Online. The University of Ottawa Press and the Canadian Museum of History invite you to the virtual launch of A Church At War: MacKay Presbyterian Church, New Edinburgh, and the First World War in the company of Ottawa historian Alan Bowker and Canadian War Museum Chief Historian and Director of Research Tim Cook. (In English and French)

Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology 30th anniversary WHEN: Tuesday, May 7 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. WHERE: 200 Lees (LEE) ; in person. Faculty of Health Sciences dean Lucie Thibault invites you to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology program. This event will feature Marie-Josée Taillefer and her daughter, Rosalie Taillefer-Simard, two well-known figures in Canada’s francophone cultural scene, who’ll speak about hearing and communication. (In French)

"Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History" by Richard T. Ford WHEN: Wednesday, May 8 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. WHERE: Alex Trebek Alumni Hall ; in person. L aw professor and cultural critic Richard Thompson Ford presents an insightful and entertaining history of the laws of fashion from the middle-ages to the present day. Dress Codes explores the importance of day-to-day popular culture for political power, social hierarchy and individual autonomy. (In English)

MedShow 2024 presents musical production Super Med Bros WHEN:  May 9 to 11, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. WHERE:  Academic Hall ; in person. MedShow is an annual musical production by first- and second-year medical students of the Faculty of Medicine, with all proceeds going to charity. This year’s production is titled Super Med Bros, a tale of four medical students’ journey in a video game universe, portraying the realities and struggles shared by many medical students while sharing hope and rekindling what inspires them to pursue this career. (In English)

Overview and preliminary results of a Parenting Program to Promote Positive Discipline WHEN:  Thursday, May 9 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. WHERE:  Online. A discussion with Elisa Romano , Professor at the University of Ottawa's School of Psychology. Her presentation is entitled "Overview and preliminary results of a Parenting Program to Promote Positive Discipline." (In English)

Telfer Conference on Corporate Finance and Banking WHEN: Friday, May 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. WHERE: Desmarais Hall , Room DMS 12102; in person. This conference will have leading finance scholars from Canada, the US and the UK, presenting their high-impact research papers studying important issues in corporate finance and banking, such as corporate social responsibilities, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, traditional banks versus Fintech, among others. (In English)

uOttawa Annual Dizziness Symposium WHEN: Friday, May 10 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. WHERE: Centurion Conference & Event Center ; in person. Patients presenting with dizziness are challenging, whether this is acute or chronic, in the clinic or the emergency department. Dizzy patients are difficult to diagnose and manage for all clinicians, from primary care to specialists and other allied health professionals. This 1-day symposium will provide participants with a solid foundation of clinical knowledge and skills used to diagnose and treat patients with dizziness through a combination of didactic teaching, case-based learning, and clinical skills workshops. (In English) ACFAS Conference WHEN: May 13 to 17, 2024. WHERE:   University of Ottawa . The University of Ottawa will host the 91st Annual ACFAS Conference, where more than 6,000 participants are expected for the biggest scientific conference of the Francophonie, in which over 300 sessions on various research disciplines will be presented. 

More information:   [email protected]

IMAGES

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  2. (PDF) Online Gaming: Impact on the Academic Performance ...

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  4. Full article: Influence of online computer games on the academic

    Research is lacking in the design aspects of digital games and the related learning to non-traditional students (Tham & Tham, Citation 2014). The lack of research and comprehension deter the use of digital gaming for instructional purposes. Indications of interest in digital game-based learning are noted in research studies across many disciplines.

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    This study examined the association of internet use, and electronic game-play with academic performance respectively on weekdays and weekends in Australian children. It also assessed whether ...

  6. Positive effects of online games on the growth of college students: A

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  7. The Impact of Online Games on Student Academic Performance

    This research aims to investigate the influence of online video gaming on the academic performance of students. The study will examine the relationship between online gaming and academic performance, as well as factors that may moderate this relationship, such as the days of gaming sessions, gender, and academic performance.

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    1 School of Nursing, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China; 2 School of Mental Health, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China; Objectives: This study aimed to explore the positive effects of online games on college students' psychological demands and individual growth. Methods: A qualitative study design was carried out in September 2021. Semi-structured, in-depth, and individual ...

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    While educational games have been increasingly popular in education, insufficient studies have comprehensively reviewed their effectiveness. To complement this missing link, this study explored game-based learning outcomes including academic achievements, problem-solving, and critical thinking abilities, knowledge, learning efficiency, skills, student attitudes, and behaviors.

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    Enrico Gandolfi, PhD, is an assistant professor of Educational Technology at Kent State University with the Research Center for Educational Technology.Previously, he worked as an associate researcher at Luiss "Guido Carli" University of Rome, Italy. His research interests span games and simulations for learning, augmented and virtual reality, accessibility and critical design in education ...

  11. Online Games: Research Perspective and Framework

    However, the scope, perspective, and main research themes of online games study are still unclear to date. Therefore, we utilized the intellectual structure technique developed by the information scientist to help clarify the scope and themes of this research domain. We analyzed thousands of relevant literature and tentatively identified 25 ...

  12. Online gaming as a double-edged sword: An Analysis of game ...

    Research has provided evidence that online gaming can both positively and negatively impact players' physical and mental health. However, few research studies have examined how game addiction, game community, and vitality felt while playing can inform well-being. This study addressed this gap by focusing on game players' vitality, a construct that addresses both mental and physical health ...

  13. Playing Apart Together: Young People's Online Gaming During the COVID

    Despite being an increasing part of many young people's everyday lives, online gaming is almost absent from the field of youth studies. Instead, other fields often relate online gaming to different types of risks—for example, social isolation, aggression, Internet gaming disorder (IGD) and so forth (such as Peeters et al., 2018).

  14. Online Games, Addiction and Overuse of

    Abstract. Online gaming addiction is a topic of increasing research interest. Since the early 2000s, there has been a significant increase in the number of empirical studies examining various aspects of problematic online gaming and online gaming addiction. This entry examines the contemporary research literature by analyzing (1) the prevalence ...

  15. Systematic literature review online gaming addiction among children and

    1. Introduction. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit globally, remote schooling and limited activities outside of home have led to a substantial rise in the rate of gaming addiction among children and young adults (age group 7 to 25 - King, Delfabbro, Billieux, & Potenza, 2020).Recent research suggests that online gaming addiction (OGA) is rife among children and young adults with 19 percent of ...

  16. Online Games: Research Perspective and Framework

    However, the scope, perspective, and main research themes of online games study are still unclear to date. Therefore, we utilized the intellectual structure technique developed by the information scientist to help clarify the scope and themes of this research domain. We analyzed thousands of relevant literature and tentatively identified 25 ...

  17. A theoretical framework for online game society

    League of Legends is the largest online game in the world, but is under-represented in video game studies. Its community is large and multi-sited, but known for competitive and toxic behaviours. This paper presents a qualitative research project into video game sociology, using League of Legends as the research site. It draws on Bourdieu's established social theory alongside empirical ...

  18. Playing games: advancing research on online and mobile gaming

    Playing games: advancing research on online and mobile gaming consumption Introduction. Computer games consistently generate more revenue than the movie and music industries and have become one of the most ubiquitous symbols of popular culture (Takahashi, 2018).Recent technological developments are changing the ways in which consumers are able to engage with computer games as individuals ...

  19. The Effects of Online Games on Student's Academic Performance

    exercises for online games. Through the study, most students realized that there is a need to ... C., Judge, T. (2020). A National Literacy Trust research report on Video game . playing and ...

  20. Effects of Online Gaming Behaviors of Filipino Students' Perceived

    With the changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, playing online games significantly increases as it lessens stress and reduces the adverse effects of self-isolation which cope with the problems encountered by most students. Several studies have shown that online games worsened learning ability, and attention issues,

  21. Effects Of Online Games in Academic Performance Among Senior High School

    Local Studies Online Games/Video Games Playing video games is often associated in our society with poor academic performance. This anecdotal idea is supported by some research. The effect that 22. interactive digital media has on the learning process is not completely negative.

  22. PDF An Investigation Of High School Students' Online Game Addiction With

    The aim of this study is to investigate high school students' online game addiction with respect to gender. The sample which was selected through the criterion sampling method, consists of 81 female (61.8 %) female, and 50 male (38.2 %), total 131 high school students. The "Online Game Addiction Scale" which was developed by Kaya and ...

  23. Video Games—Cognitive Help or Hindrance?

    To clarify the impact of video games on personal and societal health, neuroscientists have researched the effects of video gaming on the human brain, an effort that has included many functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. As part of this widening investigation, Chaarani and colleagues 1 studied the neurocognitive ramifications of ...

  24. Paying for beloved game characters: congruence with ideal others

    The game industry is booming and has received increasing attention from researchers in recent years. While many researchers have taken an interest in the congruence between game avatars and the ideal/actual self of players, the current study provided an initial exploration of ideal other-image congruence (i.e., congruence between the game character and the image of the player's ideal others ...

  25. A Literature Review on the Impact of Online Games in ...

    This paper aims to study an overview of the using online games in teaching based on the Scopus data source from January 2016 to July 2023. ... The results showed that the number of research ...

  26. What Do You Like About Playing Games?

    The game designer Sid Meier once remarked that "a game is a series of interesting choices.". Navigating these choices shapes the course of play, revealing who we are and how we think. Playing ...

  27. 301 Moved Permanently

    301 Moved Permanently

  28. University of Ottawa event calendar from May 6 to 12, 2024

    A Church at WarWHEN: Tuesday, May 7 from 12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.WHERE: Online.The University of Ottawa Press and the Canadian Museum of History invite you to the virtual launch of A Church At War: MacKay Presbyterian Church, New Edinburgh, and the First World War in the company of Ottawa historian Alan Bowker and Canadian War Museum Chief Historian and Director of Research Tim Cook.