Report | Gaming increases sociability and discourages underage smoking

gaming addiction study has been analyzed by Ph.D. student PlatinumParagon, founder of the website Psychology and Video Games. The analysis was largely undertaken in response to a BBC article and video that appeared to frame 20 hours of weekly gameplay as being an “addiction.” PlatinumParagon notes that this figure doesn’t fall under the definitions of gaming addiction as defined by the World Health Organization’s latest draft of the International Classification of Diseases. As a result, PlatinumParagon analyzed the study to see how it relates to four factors that parents might be concerned about: other addictions (like smoking and drinking), social life, mental health, and academic achievement.

In short, Psychology and Video Games‘ analysis of the gaming addiction study shows that playing video games for 20 hours a week isn’t much of a contributing factor to any of these potential areas of concern. 20 hours of gaming on a weekly basis was not a strong predictor of excessive alcohol use, cannabis use, or low mood. As for the areas where it was a factor, it ranked pretty low on the level of influence. According to this analysis, 20 hours of gaming per week is the 17th strongest predictor of underage smoking and the 22nd strongest predictor of poor academic achievement.

There were, however, several positives noted. A robust amount of gaming was the 16th strongest predictor of an effect on the social life of youth, but the effect was positive—a portion of kids who gamed for that long found themselves more likely to spend time with their friends. It also had an apparent protective effect on underage smoking; that is to say, kids who played video games for this long were less likely to take up the habit.

Four major points game up as a result of the analysis of this gaming addiction study. To quote:

  1. 20+ hours of gaming per week was not related to other addictive behaviors. In fact, playing games for this amount per week reduced the likelihood of underage smoking.
  2. Young people who play 20+ hours of video games per week were more likely to spend time with friends after school.
  3. Playing games for 20+ hours per week was not related to low mood in young people.
  4. There was a small but statistically significant relationship between playing games for 20+ hours per week and reporting your academic achievement to be lower.

While one’s parents might like to shout at them for gaming a little too much, the evidence does seem to point towards several positive benefits and not much in the way of proof for negative ones. You can read the full analysis for yourself (along with all of the methodology used) over at Psychology and Video Games.