Oxford study finds video games don't affect your well-being, no matter how long you spend...

midian182

Posts: 8,321   +103
Staff member
In a nutshell: Yet another study has shown that playing video games does not affect a person's well-being. This experiment differed from other studies in that the researchers tracked participants' gameplay directly rather than using the usual method of relying on self-reported estimates, which aren't always accurate.

Researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute in the UK conducted the study in cooperation with seven different game publishers, who allowed them to track the gaming habits of those who had consented to participate in the study.

Back in late 2020, the same Oxford team said its research found playing competency-based, socially stimulating games tended to improve the emotional well-being of players. It also noted that participants who play video games for extended periods generally presented happier than those who did not, something the new findings contradict.

The previous study included 3,274 participants and relied on them to give estimations of gameplay times by keeping diaries. The updated study had more people taking part, over 39,000, and researchers could track gameplay habits directly.

Over a period of six weeks, participants' gameplay was monitored in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Apex Legends, Eve Online, Forza Horizon 4, Gran Turismo Sport, Outriders, and The Crew 2.

Play Apex Legends for as long you like, it's unlikely to impact your well-being

Players were asked to report their experiences based on grounds including "autonomy," "competence," and "intrinsic motivation." This was to determine if they were playing for positive reasons (having fun, being sociable with friends) or less healthy ones (a compulsion to beat game goals).

The research suggested that there is no link between gaming time and poor mental health, so cutting down on how many hours kids are allowed to play each week is unlikely to make them feel better, despite what China thinks.

"We really gave increases and decreases in video game play a fair chance to predict emotional states in life satisfaction, and we didn't find evidence for that – we found evidence that that's not true in a practically significant way," Andy Przybylski, one of the researchers, told The Guardian.

But Przybylski did offer a slight caveat on the Oxford website: "We found it really does not matter how much gamers played [in terms of their sense of well-being]. It wasn't the quantity of gaming, but the quality that counted… if they felt they had to play, they felt worse. If they played because they loved it, then the data did not suggest it affected their mental health. It seemed to give them a strong positive feeling."

This marks the latest study to debunk claims that video games have a damaging effect on a person's mental health, potentially leading to aggressive or violent behavior. These sort of allegations made plenty of headlines following the Columbine shootings over 20 years ago and have reared their heads over the years, despite studies such as this one.

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envirovore

Posts: 533   +982
TechSpot Elite
I, for one, am shocked to find out that sitting down and engaging in an activity you enjoy for a couple hours to alleviate the stress and general cr*p of the day that is adult life helps you maintain a general state of well being.

Wait, no I'm not.

No doubt this applies to reading, crochet, making art or crafting, etc. Hobbies are good for you.
 

passwordistaco

Posts: 412   +951
The only problem is that time is a zero sum deal. You can't make more of it, so time spent gaming is necessarily time not spent doing something else. For children, excessive screen time could detract from activities more important for development. For adults, as long as obligations are met and healthy relationships are maintained it's no problem.

Like any other potential addiction, gaming is a problem when it becomes disruptive or harmful.

Disclosure:. I spend a lot of time gaming.
 

dirtyferret

Posts: 823   +1,122
The study is complete BS, we all know video gaming impacts mental health from fox news studies based on alternative facts. Clearly video games impact mass shooters far more than gun control laws that African war lords think are a bit too lax and mental health funding that relies on go fund me campaigns.

Any try to explain how the creator of the movie The Human Centipede was not impacted in his youth by playing countess hours of Centipede in his local arcade?
 

Lounds

Posts: 1,212   +1,122
Tbf I used to get addicted to online FPS games and I was only really doing it because I was either bored or lonely. I'm glad I don't play them much these days but then the knock on effect is online games aren't fun unless you get good by playing a lot, so my go to now is always single player stories or co-op games.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,806   +5,985
Sitting for extend periods of time has been known to cause blood clots in the legs, look at the trucking industry. lack of physical exercise leads to weak muscles, obesity and high blood pressure. There also seems to be a link, although unconfirmed, between physical health and mental health. Your brain is just one part of your nervous system. Some studies has shown that the health of your nervous sytem has a tremendous impact on mental health.

So this study is BS.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,517   +2,259
Sitting for extend periods of time has been known to cause blood clots in the legs, look at the trucking industry. lack of physical exercise leads to weak muscles, obesity and high blood pressure. There also seems to be a link, although unconfirmed, between physical health and mental health. Your brain is just one part of your nervous system. Some studies has shown that the health of your nervous sytem has a tremendous impact on mental health.

So this study is BS.
What part of "Correlation does not imply causation" are you failing to grasp, here
 

George Keech

Posts: 265   +458
One note I read in the study it basically says people who play more might feel better because they have more free time to do something they like.

Which is a very outside way of looking at it but accurate and could be assigned to many things.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,838   +1,909
This marks the latest study to debunk claims that video games have a damaging effect on a person's mental health, potentially leading to aggressive or violent behavior
The study does no such thing. The number of flaws and caveats in it are enormous, such as:

1) It asked the subjects themselves to rate their own mental health, rather than perform any objective evaluation.
2) It measured only a very limited period (6 weeks) rather than the months or years over which severe effects are expected to occur.
3) It specifically excluded gamers who played lengthy sessions (10+ hours)
4) Rather than tracking gamers who played only violent FPS and horror titles, it focused almost exclusively on players of low-key games like Animal Crossing, Eve Online, etc.

And most of all, its conclusion was that gaming didn't affect mental state unless the gamer felt compelled to play..
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,838   +1,909
Clearly video games impact mass shooters far more than gun control laws that African war lords think are a bit too lax
Over the last 40 years in the US:

-- Gun control legislation has risen dramatically.
-- Video games have risen dramatically.
-- Mass shootings have risen dramatically.

Logically, there are only three possibilities here:

(a) More gun laws increase mass shootings, rather than decrease them.
(b) More video games increase mass shootings.
(c) Neither gun laws nor video games affect mass shootings (spurious correlations)

Which door do you wish to pick?
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,517   +2,259
Care to elaborate?
Gaming doesn't make you sit down for periods of time long enough to cause blood clots; gaming may be generally heavily correlated with long sedentary periods, but certain games (VR, Wii action games, etc) are the opposite in that they require some stand-up, physical activity, many games actively remind you to take periodic breaks, and simply responding to basic biological needs like thirst, hunger, and bathroom breaks will break up sedentary periods. Your point would sound ridiculous in any other context - gardening, painting, or reading, for example.
 

netman

Posts: 838   +380
"Study finds video games don't affect your well-being, no matter how long you spend playing them"

The Study is False to sell you more video games...!
 

PEnnn

Posts: 951   +1,240
What part of "Correlation does not imply causation" are you failing to grasp, here

Thank you for your amusing and amazing contribution to this discussion.

Please go back to watching Fox News, you might miss some juicy alternative facts!!
 

dirtyferret

Posts: 823   +1,122
Over the last 40 years in the US:

-- Gun control legislation has risen dramatically.
Which door do you wish to pick?

So has my personal net worth since anything over nothing is a "dramatic rise" but that does not mean I (or lawmakers) need to stop working and/or do better.
Logically, there are only three possibilities here:
The latter proves the former an inaccurate assumption.
Which door do you wish to pick?
When given invalid and inaccurate reasoning your doors have no reason to be picked.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,806   +5,985
Gaming doesn't make you sit down for periods of time long enough to cause blood clots; gaming may be generally heavily correlated with long sedentary periods, but certain games (VR, Wii action games, etc) are the opposite in that they require some stand-up, physical activity, many games actively remind you to take periodic breaks, and simply responding to basic biological needs like thirst, hunger, and bathroom breaks will break up sedentary periods. Your point would sound ridiculous in any other context - gardening, painting, or reading, for example.
That isn't the part I was expecting you to have a problem with but it is a well documented medical fact

There are games that make you active, but that is by far the exception rather than the rule. Those would be statistical outliers that are looked for and removed from data sets.

And are you suggesting trucks, but any career really, where you have to sit for extended periods of time can't create blood clots? In my industry there are OSHA rules where heavy equipment and crane operators have to standup and stretch every few hours specifically to help prevent blood clots.

I also know this from working in industry, the unions for heavy equipment operation have higher insurance premiums because they have higher rates of obesity, highblood pressure and heart disease. Quick point, people say it is illegal in the US to discriminate health insurance price over an individuals health, it isn't illegal to discriminate against a union using collective bargaining.

If you're going to cite gardening then I don't think you've ever gardened and when I painted when I was younger I stood up. You might be able to say reading, but when I'm reading I'm constantly moving around because I get uncomfortable or my hands or arms get tired from holding the book.
 

envirovore

Posts: 533   +982
TechSpot Elite
The study is complete BS, we all know video gaming impacts mental health from fox news studies based on alternative facts. Clearly video games impact mass shooters far more than gun control laws that African war lords think are a bit too lax and mental health funding that relies on go fund me campaigns.

Any try to explain how the creator of the movie The Human Centipede was not impacted in his youth by playing countess hours of Centipede in his local arcade?

In lieu of a 'funny' button, you earned that like.
Would LOL again.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 1,517   +2,259
That isn't the part I was expecting you to have a problem with but it is a well documented medical fact

There are games that make you active, but that is by far the exception rather than the rule. Those would be statistical outliers that are looked for and removed from data sets.

And are you suggesting trucks, but any career really, where you have to sit for extended periods of time can't create blood clots? In my industry there are OSHA rules where heavy equipment and crane operators have to standup and stretch every few hours specifically to help prevent blood clots.

I also know this from working in industry, the unions for heavy equipment operation have higher insurance premiums because they have higher rates of obesity, highblood pressure and heart disease. Quick point, people say it is illegal in the US to discriminate health insurance price over an individuals health, it isn't illegal to discriminate against a union using collective bargaining.

If you're going to cite gardening then I don't think you've ever gardened and when I painted when I was younger I stood up. You might be able to say reading, but when I'm reading I'm constantly moving around because I get uncomfortable or my hands or arms get tired from holding the book.
Again, it is the sitting that is causing the blood clots. Trucking, office work or gaming can be holes in the cheese leading to a blood clot, but none of them are causing blood clots in and of themselves, and all of them require some kind of outside compelling force to induce you to sit to the point you're clogging up your own veins; a trucking company with unreasonable deadlines for delivery, a raiding guild bent on achieving a server first, an internet cafe where leaving your spot means losing your PC to the next customer, a toxically competitive office environment forcing employees to prioritize productivity over their own health. It is also distinct from other addictions like drugs, smoking or drinking, where the compulsion is due to a chemical addiction created by consuming the substance itself.
 
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envirovore

Posts: 533   +982
TechSpot Elite
Sitting for extend periods of time has been known to cause blood clots in the legs, look at the trucking industry. lack of physical exercise leads to weak muscles, obesity and high blood pressure. There also seems to be a link, although unconfirmed, between physical health and mental health. Your brain is just one part of your nervous system. Some studies has shown that the health of your nervous sytem has a tremendous impact on mental health.

Indeed, this is true.
It's a major concern for those that manage office workers that tend to have to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day.
We used to get constant reminders to get up and stand for a few minutes during the day, pace at our desk space while in a longer call, use our breaks to walk around the building a few times, and generally stay active over all outside of work.

Sitting for a two hour or so session isn't going to really harm you, even if it's daily. Those that make it a point or habit to stream or just play for 6+ hours at a time daily...yeah they will more than likely develop some sort of issue if they're not making sure to be active while not playing.

This is something I've always been sure to be aware of though, and when I do find myself wasting a day in longer play sessions am sure to get up typically every hour and walk about/stretch/do a thing for a little while before jumping back into my game.

And indeed, being physically active can and will improve mental well being. Even if it's a thing you don't want to do (like cleaning for example...you may not want to clean, may resent that you have to at that time even, but the end result of everything being accomplished [and in this example in order] does have a positive subconscious effect)

Valid point however I wouldn't say it proves this study is BS though, more that this study could be applied to pretty much any leisure activity.
It's not so much "long game sessions don't negatively effect mental health" as it is "humans like doing things they don't feel obligated to do to help relax"