Playing Video Games All Summer Won’t Hurt Your Mental Health

Video games don’t harm people’s mental health, and they don’t help it. In fact, they don’t do much to move the needle, according to one new study tens of thousands of players.

For years, policymakers and public health organizations have expressed concern about the potential of video games to be addictive or harm mental health. This study, published in the journal Royal Society for Open Science, offers one of the most comprehensive looks at the relationship between video games and well-being. It relies on Previous search from the same team that also found no adverse effects on mental health.

The research team worked with video game publishers to recruit nearly 39,000 people who played one of the seven matches: Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Apex Legends, Online Standby, Forza Horizon 4, Gran Turismo Sportsand The crew 2. Game publishers provided game data to participants over six weeks, and researchers surveyed participants three times.

Because the team was able to look at players’ game data, they didn’t have to rely on self-reporting of time spent playing games – so the team was able to get a more accurate reading play time. The study measured well-being using two tools: the Positive and Negative Experiences Scale, which asks people to rate how often they experienced feelings like “happy” and “fear,” and the Cantril Self-Anchoring Scale, which asks people to state where they are on a scale whose top represents their best possible life.

The study also asked people to complete the Player Experience of Need Satisfaction survey, which tracks people’s experience with specific games – tracking things like their perception of autonomy and their motivations for playing the game. .

The analysis found that spending more or less time playing games had no negative or positive impact on how people felt. Conversely, how people felt didn’t have a major impact on how much time they spent playing.

Any role played by video games in the wellbeing bias that emerged in the study was too small to have any real impact on how people feel, the authors said. People should play games for 10 After hours a day than their baseline for noticing changes in their well-being, according to the study.

The study did, however, find evidence that people’s motivations to play games and their gaming experience had a slightly greater impact on well-being. When people played games because they wanted to, their well-being was better than when they played games because they felt compelled to. Still, those relationships were small, and it’s unclear if those motivations would have any noticeable impact on the players.

Much remains to be learned about the impact of video games on the way people feel and behave, the study authors noted. This analysis only looked at a handful of thousands of games on the market. Researchers have yet to examine how motivations to play games and the quality of gameplay might alter people’s experiences. They also need to determine whether certain people have characteristics that make them more or less susceptible to changes in well-being.

“We know we need a lot more player data from many other platforms to develop the kind of deeper understanding needed to inform policy and shape advice to parents and healthcare professionals,” said said study author Andrew Przybylski, senior researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, in a report.

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