Navigation Links
Online Gaming With Real-World Friends Is Healthier: Study
Date:5/6/2011

By Charnicia Huggins
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to what some might think, spending hours online playing video games and interacting with others through avatars may contribute to emotional health, if virtual gaming partners or opponents include real-world family members, findings from a new data analysis suggest.

Various research has touted the negative effects of spending too much solitary time playing video games, so "people think [video] games are bad for you psychologically," explained study author Cuihua Shen. "We challenge that assumption," she said.

"If I am playing with existing family and friends, I am extending my social life in cyberspace, and that is actually good for me psychologically," said Shen, an assistant professor of emerging media and communication at the University of Texas at Dallas.

However, this assertion comes with some caveats. Shen's study found that the quality of family communication took a nosedive when kids and young adults -- primarily those in their 30s -- failed to include family and friends in the many hours they spent playing video and virtual reality games.

In addition, even virtual gamers who played regularly with their families and thus expanded their time together reported the quality of that communication was "slightly lower" than usual.

Shen and co-author Dmitri Williams, of the University of Southern California, analyzed surveys of over 5,000 participants in Sony Online Entertainment's massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, EverQuest II (EQ2). They collected self-reported information about players' psychosocial well being -- including their level of loneliness, family communication time and quality -- and their Internet use, and also looked at Sony's proprietary game server information about players' online behavior.

The investigators found that gamers who played EQ2 with family members experienced various psychosocial benefits, including more family communication time, even though the quality of that communication was not ideal, Shen and Williams reported in a recent issue of the journal Communication Research. Interactions during online games may not be "as nurturing or meaningful as those from more conventional media," the researchers explained.

Gamers who did not play with family experienced the opposite effects, however, since their family communication time was essentially replaced by their online gaming habits. What's more, the quality of their family communication suffered dramatically.

Although the study participants included youth, gamers were overwhelmingly young adult males, aged 31 years on average, who were well-educated and had incomes greater than in the general U.S. population. The gamers spent nearly 30 hours online each week, outside of work, and most of that time was spent playing EQ2.

In surveys with a control group, EQ2 players who spent a large portion of their online time meeting new people experienced a better sense of community online, but increased loneliness and less family time. In fact, the game was associated with poorer family communication in general, although the effect was weaker for those playing with family members, the researchers noted.

"Playing MMOs can be good for your psychosocial health but it really depends on the purpose, context and type of players," Shen said. "There really are a lot of nuances."

So rather than have parents continue their "futile efforts" to stop kids and adult children from spending so much time playing online, Shen suggested they join them. "Parents could try to get into games as well," she said, describing the online avatar world as a "place to socialize outside normal settings." Playing together may even spark later game-related discussion topics and help "improve family communication" in the long run, she suggested.

Shen does not advocate that online gaming take the place of more traditional outside family activities, such as picnics or sports. "I'm not suggesting that we should stop playing outside," she said, but parents can "take the virtual world as an opportunity to bond with their kids."

Players who went online mostly for information-gathering purposes, however, experienced less loneliness, better and longer family communication time and a greater sense of neighborhood and workplace/school community, the researchers reported.

The findings of beneficial psychosocial effects associated with online playing with family members are not surprising to Michael Gilbert, a senior fellow at the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California.

Drawing on his research in Internet use that points to the explosion of online social media as a potential cause or contributor to the breakdown in face-to-face family time that has occurred since the first half of the decade, he said, "to my mind, it's kind of simplistic."

"If we're using social media as a family, I think that, indeed, yes, this activity can definitely draw a family together," he said. "It's never the technology [to blame for decreased family face-to-face time], it's how we use it."

More information

There's information on kids and the Internet at the Nemours Foundation.

SOURCES: Cuihua Shen, Ph.D., assistant professor, Emerging Media and Communication Program, University of Texas at Dallas; Michael Gilbert, senior fellow, Center for the Digital Future, Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, University of Southern California; University of Texas at Dallas, news release, April 21, 2011; February 2011, Communication Research, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. TheReliefPlace.com Launches Online Store “The Relief Shop” - What Does this Medical Supply Store Carry and How Can They Help You?
2. Web Content Management Enables Government Transparency, Participation, and Collaboration Online
3. DavisPTnetwork Partners with the New York Physical Therapy Association to Provide Online Continuing Education
4. PERSONALABS Offers Discounted Healthy Heart Online Blood Tests in February
5. Pharmahelper Pleased To Recognize Online Pharmacy Practice Standards Announced By Google Adwords
6. Online Dating Reinvents Itself with the Recent Roll-Out of Teacherhookup.com, a Free Website that Focuses on a Person's Career in Education!
7. EdenHome.com Adds Aventura Organic Clothes to Site and Announces Largest Online Selection of Stylish Organic Clothes for Men, Women and Children
8. Fire Protection Online Resolves Safety Concerns with CO2 Fire Extinguishers
9. JCI online early table of contents: Feb. 15, 2010
10. Fitness Trend Towards Online Personal Training Gets Real-World Weight Loss Results on FitOrbit.com
11. New Online Store Makes Buying Cosmetics a Healthy Choice
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Online Gaming With Real-World Friends Is Healthier: Study
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their ... Cut Pro X," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ... Pro X users can now reveal the media of their split screens with ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... NY (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... using cutting edge technology to revolutionize the emergency ambulance transport experience for the ... are aware of how Uber has disrupted the taxi industry through the use ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... On June 10-11, 2016, A Forever ... Cereal Festival and World’s Longest Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where the rehabilitation ... as home to some of the world’s leading providers of cereal and other breakfast ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... Brent Kasmer, a legally blind ... able to be personalized through a fitness app. The fitness app plans to fix the ... solutions currently only offer a one size fits all type program , They ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs ... College of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. ... treatment for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: JAZZ ... Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended ("HSR"), with ... ("Celator"; Nasdaq: CPXX ) expired effective June ... As previously announced on May 31, 2016, Jazz ... under which Jazz Pharmaceuticals has commenced a tender offer ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. , June 24, 2016 ... GBT ), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics ... significant unmet needs, today announced the closing of ... shares of common stock, at the public offering ... shares in the offering were offered by GBT. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016 Dehaier Medical Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: ... develops, markets and sells medical devices and wearable sleep ... a strategic cooperation agreement with Hongyuan Supply Chain Management ... on June 20, 2016, to develop Dehaier,s new Internet ... agreement, Dehaier will leverage Hongyuan Supply Chain,s sales platform ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: