Negative perceptions of the risks associated with gaming in young adolescents: An exploratory study to help thinking about a prevention program (2017)

Arch Pediatr. 2017 Jun 5. pii: S0929-693X(17)30175-6. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2017.04.006.

 [Article in French]

Bonnaire C1, Phan O2.


Given the growing use of video games and the growing number of adolescents with Internet gaming disorder (IGD), prevention in this area is necessary. The objective of this study was to investigate the use and most particularly the representations of the risks associated with the use of video games in young adolescents by comparing problematic (PGs) and nonproblematic gamers (NPGs). Gender differences were also explored. Five Parisian middle schools participated in this study and 434 adolescents (231 boys, mage=13.2 years; 203 girls, mage=13.1 years) answered several questions concerning videogames (including the Game Addiction Scale). Among all participants (n=434), 37 students (n=8.8%) could be considered PGs. Of these, 29 (n=78.4%) were boys. Generally, sample students’ surf and play a great deal during the week: they spend an average of 2h per day playing video games and 4h per day on the Internet. The number of screens at home is significantly higher in PGs compared to NPGs, the remaining set at a high level (n>10). Most middle school students believe that time spent on video games can have an impact on physical and mental health but they have no impact on academic performance. The two types of video games responsible for problematic use were role-play games and first-person shooter games. Most negative consequences are reported more by girls than boys: eating problems (P=.037), sleep problems (P=.040), vision problems (P=.002), conflicts with parents (P<001), loss of time (P=.003), and lack of school investment (P<.001). For all participants, the main reasons for IGD were poor academic performance, lack of friends, lack of self-confidence and family problems. In NPGs, girls reported more than boys that family problems (P=.003), lack of self-confidence (P=.005) and negative self-image (P=.007) led to IGD. The three main features of the individual with IGD reported by PGs and NPGs is the failure to stop playing, playing instead of fulfilling one’s obligations and doing nothing but play. Most of the respondents believed that one can be addicted to video games and that they can have an impact on physical and mental health. Adolescents are more aware of the impact gaming generates on themselves than on their relationship with the environment (school and family). These preliminary exploratory findings indicate that preventive action could be promoted for adolescents. To promote life skills, and given that girls often report more negative consequences than boys, it seems important to include these skills in prevention programs.

PMID: 28595830

DOI: 10.1016/j.arcped.2017.04.006