20 March 2019

When gaming becomes an addiction

Gaming is becoming more and more accessible. Games no longer have to be expensive and you can play on mobile systems wherever you want. Gaming is fun, but also addictive. Assistant Professor Margot Peeters researches gaming addictions, the negative consequences of excessive gaming.

Within gaming, social networks and obligations come about.

We speak of a gaming addiction when gaming causes conflicts in the player's social environment. “So it's not that much about the number of hours, but about the degree in which gaming influences the player's life,” Peeters explains.   

Youngsters who withdraw from their social environments and start gaming can distance themselves further and further from their social environments. Also within gaming, social networks and obligations to fellow players come about. Fellow players who can be anywhere in the world. “When you fight the enemy together or try to complete a so-called quest, you can't just abandon your fellow players,” Peeters explains.

Science Game Research

Positive sides of gaming 

“But these fellow players also make for a positive element. The players establish new connections with each other. It's also challenging to your motor skills to divide your attention like that while multitasking.” Besides that, so-called serious games can bring about positive behavioural changes. These can be educational games, games that are used in healthcare or games that try to reduce or prevent physical or mental health problems.

Margot works as a youth researcher and collaborates with Ina Koning and Regina van den Eijnden, among other people. Besides gaming addictions, Peeters also investigates the differences in risk behaviour among social population groups.

Dynamics of Youth

Beat-it is a project of Dynamics of Youth, one of the four strategic themes of Utrecht University. Dynamics of Youth connects excellent child and youth research from all seven faculties, and looks for the answer to a crucial question for future generations: how can we help our children with their development into well-balanced individuals who can successfully hold their own in a rapidly changing environment?