The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.
A new study published by University of Oxford researchers in JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting shows that although many school-age adolescents are spending considerable time gaming, it is not having a negative impact on their well-being.
The OxWell Student Survey is one of the largest school surveys of adolescent health and well-being in England. More than 12,000 secondary school-aged students (12-18 years) took part in the latest survey in June-July 2021 and provided information on how much they game.
Almost one-third (31.2%) of students that answered questions on their gaming reported spending at least 3.5 hours each day playing games on any electronic device (‘heavy’ gamers), but a fifth (21.8%) reported not engaging in any gaming. The study identified different profiles of adolescents who game for longer periods of time based on their psychological well-being, how much time they spent playing games on different electronic devices, and how much control they have over their gaming behaviors.
They found that most of the ‘heavy’ gamers were experiencing no negative effects with regard to their well-being, and 44% of ‘heavy’ gamers reported higher well-being than those who play games less or do not play them at all.
The study highlights, however, that this was not the case for everybody. 1 in 12 adolescents who were ‘heavy’ gamers did report a loss of control over gaming and well-being issues. They were more likely to be female and report gaming on their mobile phones. They were also, however, more likely to report previous experiences of abuse or anxiety and aggressive behaviors, suggesting that those with traumatic experiences and mental health issues may turn to gaming as a coping mechanism.