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      The Effects of Gamification and Oral Self-Care on Oral Hygiene in Children: Systematic Search in App Stores and Evaluation of Apps

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          Poor oral hygiene is a great public health problem worldwide. Oral health care education is a public health priority as the maintenance of oral hygiene is integral to overall health. Maintaining optimal oral hygiene among children is challenging and can be supported by using relevant motivational approaches.


          The primary aim of this study was to identify mobile smartphone apps that include gamification features focused on motivating children to learn, perform, and maintain optimal oral hygiene.


          We searched six online app stores using four search terms (“oral hygiene game,” “oral hygiene gamification,” “oral hygiene brush game,” and “oral hygiene brush gamification”). We identified gamification features, identified whether apps were consistent with evidence-based dentistry, performed a quality appraisal with the Mobile App Rating Scale user version (uMARS), and quantified behavior scores (Behavior Change score, uMARS score, and Coventry, Aberdeen, and London-Refined [CALO-RE] score) using three different instruments that measure behavior change.


          Of 612 potentially relevant apps included in the analysis, 17 met the inclusion criteria. On average, apps included 6.87 (SD 4.18) out of 31 possible gamification features. The most frequently used gamification features were time pressure (16/17, 94%), virtual characters (14/17, 82%), and fantasy (13/17, 76%). The most common oral hygiene evidence-based recommendation was brushing time (2-3 minutes), which was identified in 94% (16/17) of apps. The overall mean uMARS score for app quality was high (4.30, SD 0.36), with good mean subjective quality (3.79, SD 0.71) and perceived impact (3.58, SD 0.44). Sufficient behavior change techniques based on three taxonomies were detected in each app.


          The majority of the analyzed oral hygiene apps included gamification features and behavior change techniques to perform and maintain oral hygiene in children. Overall, the apps contained some educational content consistent with evidence-based dentistry and high-quality background for oral self-care in children; however, there is scope for improvement.

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          From game design elements to gamefulness

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            Just a Fad? Gamification in Health and Fitness Apps

            Background Gamification has been a predominant focus of the health app industry in recent years. However, to our knowledge, there has yet to be a review of gamification elements in relation to health behavior constructs, or insight into the true proliferation of gamification in health apps. Objective The objective of this study was to identify the extent to which gamification is used in health apps, and analyze gamification of health and fitness apps as a potential component of influence on a consumer’s health behavior. Methods An analysis of health and fitness apps related to physical activity and diet was conducted among apps in the Apple App Store in the winter of 2014. This analysis reviewed a sample of 132 apps for the 10 effective game elements, the 6 core components of health gamification, and 13 core health behavior constructs. A regression analysis was conducted in order to measure the correlation between health behavior constructs, gamification components, and effective game elements. Results This review of the most popular apps showed widespread use of gamification principles, but low adherence to any professional guidelines or industry standard. Regression analysis showed that game elements were associated with gamification (P<.001). Behavioral theory was associated with gamification (P<.05), but not game elements, and upon further analysis gamification was only associated with composite motivational behavior scores (P<.001), and not capacity or opportunity/trigger. Conclusions This research, to our knowledge, represents the first comprehensive review of gamification use in health and fitness apps, and the potential to impact health behavior. The results show that use of gamification in health and fitness apps has become immensely popular, as evidenced by the number of apps found in the Apple App Store containing at least some components of gamification. This shows a lack of integrating important elements of behavioral theory from the app industry, which can potentially impact the efficacy of gamification apps to change behavior. Apps represent a very promising, burgeoning market and landscape in which to disseminate health behavior change interventions. Initial results show an abundant use of gamification in health and fitness apps, which necessitates the in-depth study and evaluation of the potential of gamification to change health behaviors.
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              Cell-Phone Addiction: A Review

              We present a review of the studies that have been published about addiction to cell phones. We analyze the concept of cell-phone addiction as well as its prevalence, study methodologies, psychological features, and associated psychiatric comorbidities. Research in this field has generally evolved from a global view of the cell phone as a device to its analysis via applications and contents. The diversity of criteria and methodological approaches that have been used is notable, as is a certain lack of conceptual delimitation that has resulted in a broad spread of prevalent data. There is a consensus about the existence of cell-phone addiction, but the delimitation and criteria used by various researchers vary. Cell-phone addiction shows a distinct user profile that differentiates it from Internet addiction. Without evidence pointing to the influence of cultural level and socioeconomic status, the pattern of abuse is greatest among young people, primarily females. Intercultural and geographical differences have not been sufficiently studied. The problematic use of cell phones has been associated with personality variables, such as extraversion, neuroticism, self-esteem, impulsivity, self-identity, and self-image. Similarly, sleep disturbance, anxiety, stress, and, to a lesser extent, depression, which are also associated with Internet abuse, have been associated with problematic cell-phone use. In addition, the present review reveals the coexistence relationship between problematic cell-phone use and substance use such as tobacco and alcohol.

                Author and article information

                JMIR Mhealth Uhealth
                JMIR Mhealth Uhealth
                JMIR mHealth and uHealth
                JMIR Publications (Toronto, Canada )
                July 2020
                8 July 2020
                : 8
                : 7
                [1 ] Faculty of Health Sciences University of Maribor Maribor Slovenia
                [2 ] Dr. Novsak storitve d.o.o. Ljubljana Slovenia
                [3 ] Healthcare Policy and Research Division of Health Informatics Weill Cornell Medicine New York, NY United States
                [4 ] Medical Faculty University of Maribor Maribor Slovenia
                [5 ] Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science University of Maribor Maribor Slovenia
                Author notes
                Corresponding Author: Nino Fijačko nino.fijacko@ 123456um.si
                ©Nino Fijačko, Lucija Gosak, Leona Cilar, Alenka Novšak, Ruth Masterson Creber, Pavel Skok, Gregor Štiglic. Originally published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth (http://mhealth.jmir.org), 08.07.2020.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on http://mhealth.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.

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