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      The effectiveness of a parental guide for prevention of problematic video gaming in children: A public health randomized controlled intervention study

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          Background and aims

          Excessive use of video games among children and adolescents is a growing concern. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a brief parental guide with advices and strategies for regulating video gaming in children.


          A random sample of guardians of children between the age of 8–12 years old ( N = 5,864) was drawn from the Norwegian Population Registry and equally randomized into an intervention and a control condition. A parental guide based on clinical and research literature was distributed by postal mail to those in the intervention condition. A 4-month follow-up survey comprising questions about problematic video gaming, gaming behavior, sleep activity, and parental video game regulation behavior was administered.


          Independent t-tests revealed no significant differences between the two conditions ( N = 1,657, response rate 30.1%) on any outcome measure. An ANOVA with planned comparisons showed that respondents who reported that they had read and followed the parental guide reported more video game problems and used more parental mediation strategies than those who did not read and follow the guide.


          We found no evidence for the effectiveness of the psychoeducational parental guide on preventing problematic video gaming in children. However, the guide was read and positively assessed by a significant proportion of guardians. Differences between those who studied the guide and those who did not may indicate that parental guides are better aimed at providing important information to those who already have problems rather than as a mean of primary prevention.

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          Most cited references 43

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          Pathological video-game use among youth ages 8 to 18: a national study.

          Researchers have studied whether some youth are "addicted" to video games, but previous studies have been based on regional convenience samples. Using a national sample, this study gathered information about video-gaming habits and parental involvement in gaming, to determine the percentage of youth who meet clinical-style criteria for pathological gaming. A Harris poll surveyed a randomly selected sample of 1,178 American youth ages 8 to 18. About 8% of video-game players in this sample exhibited pathological patterns of play. Several indicators documented convergent and divergent validity of the results: Pathological gamers spent twice as much time playing as nonpathological gamers and received poorer grades in school; pathological gaming also showed comorbidity with attention problems. Pathological status significantly predicted poorer school performance even after controlling for sex, age, and weekly amount of video-game play. These results confirm that pathological gaming can be measured reliably, that the construct demonstrates validity, and that it is not simply isomorphic with a high amount of play.
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            Problematic video game use: estimated prevalence and associations with mental and physical health.

            A nationwide survey was conducted to investigate the prevalence of video game addiction and problematic video game use and their association with physical and mental health. An initial sample comprising 2,500 individuals was randomly selected from the Norwegian National Registry. A total of 816 (34.0 percent) individuals completed and returned the questionnaire. The majority (56.3 percent) of respondents used video games on a regular basis. The prevalence of video game addiction was estimated to be 0.6 percent, with problematic use of video games reported by 4.1 percent of the sample. Gender (male) and age group (young) were strong predictors for problematic use of video games. A higher proportion of high frequency compared with low frequency players preferred massively multiplayer online role-playing games, although the majority of high frequency players preferred other game types. Problematic use of video games was associated with lower scores on life satisfaction and with elevated levels of anxiety and depression. Video game use was not associated with reported amount of physical exercise.
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              Psychosocial causes and consequences of pathological gaming


                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                J Behav Addict
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                08 January 2018
                March 2018
                : 7
                : 1
                : 52-61
                [ 1 ]Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen , Bergen, Norway
                [ 2 ] KoRus-Øst, Innlandet Hospital Trust , Ottestad, Norway
                [ 3 ] School of Psychology, The University of Adelaide , Adelaide, Australia
                [ 4 ]Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen , Bergen, Norway
                [ 5 ] Norwegian Competence Center for Sleep Disorders, Haukeland University Hospital , Bergen, Norway
                [ 6 ]Treatment Center for Addictive Disorder, The Borgestad Clinic , Skien, Norway
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Elfrid Krossbakken; Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen, PO Box 7807, Bergen 5020, Norway; Phone: +47 55 58 86 48; Fax: +47 55 58 98 79; E-mail: elfrid.krossbakken@
                © 2018 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 4, Equations: 0, References: 47, Pages: 10
                Funding sources: This project was funded by the Norwegian Research Council.
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