Computers and computer gaming have become a significant part of most adolescents’ lives. Participation in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) is expected to increase as the gaming industry evolves and new players continue to join.
Why adolescents play computer games, and what negative consequences such play may have, are the key questions in this paper. Data from nearly 8,000 Swedish adolescents was analyzed to determine time spent gaming, motivations for gaming, and the possible negative consequences from gaming. This data was extracted from a biannual data collection focusing on general Internet use by adolescents in Vestmanland County, where related surveys indicate that every other student plays MMORPGs.
The analysis reveals that some adolescents play for fun, others play because they have nothing better to do, and some use gaming to get away from problems in their offline lives. The participants reported the following consequences from their gaming habits: too little sleep, poorer school performance, and conflicts with their parents. These top-reported negative consequences are proportionate to the time spent gaming and relate to the motivations for gaming (fun/social, demand/status, and escape). The male and female adolescents exhibited different behavioral and motivational profiles. The study suggests that motives should be considered the primary indicator of negative consequences--even more than time spent gaming.
This paper confirms some stereotypical assumptions about gaming. The writing flows well, and the authors present relevant analyses and sound background information, which makes it appealing and useful to a general readership.