Playing smartphone games to relieve boredom can be harmful, here’s why


A new study has found that smartphone games can be harmful for gamers who gamble to escape negative moods and feelings of boredom. The results of the study were published in the journal “Computers in Human Behavior”.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have found that “escape players,” those who have difficulty engaging in the real environment and maintaining their attention, may seek out “flow,” which is a state. of deep and effortless concentration in an activity related to unconsciousness. time and space.

“We found that people who frequently experience intense boredom in everyday life reported playing smartphone games to escape or alleviate these feelings of boredom,” said Chanel Larche, lead author of the study and a PhD student in cognitive neuroscience in Waterloo.

“The problem with this ‘solution’ of boredom is that they end up playing whenever they get bored and end up having problems with excessive gambling,” added Larche.

“During the game, players can achieve optimal excitement, engaged focus and attention, and a reduction in feelings of monotony, but this increased urge to play among breakout players can have negative consequences and lead to a time out. excessive gambling, ”Larche added.

Larche conducted this study with Michael Dixon, professor of cognitive neuroscience at Waterloo.

Using the popular smartphone game Candy Crush, Larche and Dixon had 60 participants with a current ranking in the game between 77 and 3307. excitement, at balance, which was more difficult and caused more fluidity, d excitement, less boredom and a stronger urge to continue playing.

This was done to determine whether players would choose to continue playing a game where there was a balance between challenges and flow-friendly skills, rather than an easier game that generated less flow.

Their results confirmed that individuals who gamble to escape boredom using smartphone games such as Candy Crush become more immersed in the game than gamers without escape. However, when breakout players find these games more rewarding to get rid of boredom, they can play more frequently and for longer periods of time.

“Those who play to escape feel a greater flow and positive effect than other gamers, which sets up a cycle of video games to elevate a depressed mood,” Dixon said.

“This is inappropriate because, while it improves your mood, it also increases your urge to keep playing. Playing too long can be addictive and means less time is available for other healthier activities. increases your depression, ”Dixon added.

Larche said these findings may encourage game developers to consider implementing responsible video game tools directly into their games. For example, having a time limit option to allow players to specify how long they want to play could be useful for players who are likely to be playing a problematic escape game.

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