A recent study carried out by the Oxford Internet Institute Research investigated the claim that gaming is bad for one’s mental health and gathered data in an attempt to shed some light on this poorly researched topic.
Ever since the gaming industry began to rise in popularity, it has been plagued with the belief that anyone who considers themselves a gamer will be affected negatively either physically or mentally. Many of the older generations make nothing but negative remarks when the topic of videogames and technology is brought up. But of can’t blame them when all that they have heard is cherry-picked information about a misunderstood sport.
Whenever any research is done with regard to the gaming industry, the study normally revolves around finding the negative aspects of the hobby that many enjoy. That is why Professor Andrew Przybylski, head of the study at the Oxford Internet Institute Research, decided to gather data and use the evidence found to decide whether the age long belief is actually true. Their findings revealed that there are in fact positive aspects to gaming.
In the study they focused on popular games that could be played across all age ranges such as Nintendo’s Animal Crossing and EA’s Plants vs Zombies. Professor Przybylski did comment on his surprise when he discovered how little hard data was used in previous studies that deemed the industry to be nothing but negative and how little data these games actually kept of their players activity.
This study is the first of its kind to use actual play-time data and not just self-reported data that the other studies chose to use. They also took a look at the psychological side of things by using psychological questionnaires that looked at the amount of play-time and the specific game that was being researched. Upon learning this discovery, it leads one to question their beliefs when it comes to the gaming industry and whether the stigma around the sport is all based on a poorly-researched study done years ago.
Prof Przybylski said during the study “This is about bringing games into the fold of psychology research that’s not a dumpster fire,” which confirms that he is dedicated to finding out the truth about how gaming affects ones mental health and he has promised to do so with nothing but hard data and with no preconceived negative opinions.
The Professor was very clear when he said that although playing Animal Crossing for a few hours can lift ones mood, it does not excuse the fact that there are some elements to the gaming world that have a more negative impact than others. Some might find it hard to come away from the screens of their device and interact with the real world but others use it as a form of escape from the harsh reality the world provides us with. With this study comes a lot of hard data which will be sure to uncover some negative truths from within the gaming industry but for now the study has proven what many believed to be true for years, was actually false and mostly all hypothetical.
The main goal of the research team behind the study was to hopefully provide a better understanding of the gaming world and grab the attention of large organisations such as the WHO (World Health Organisation) And the NHS who believe gaming to be a health risk. This study will hopefully urge them to dedicate more time and research into the truth behind gaming, an area that so many young people find themselves getting involved in and how it might be doing more good than bad. Another way of looking at it is that they might uncover a solution to the issue of video game addiction and the digital harms that many of the youth face when using their technological devices.
Young people are attracted to the gaming community as it creates a space for them to be whoever they want to be and join a community that will accept them. Games such as Animal Crossing will introduce you to other players and create a peaceful environment where one farms and looks after their land with a calming soundtrack to match. One will feel nothing but peace and serenity when coming away from a games such as Nintendo’s Animal Crossing.
As a result of this study, many will begin to view the gaming world in a different light and hopefully some might be inspired to do their research before forming their opinions of the sport. The hard data found when doing the study will now be available to psychologists so that they can study how friendships are formed in the modern world and how some use gaming rather as a weapon in an attempt to harm others.
Hopefully by the time you’ve finished reading this, Professor Przybylski would have achieved his goal of changing your opinion of the gaming world and maybe opened your eyes to the possible positives that the industry has to offer.