An Investigation of Gaming Effects and Interventions for Young Gamers in Singapore

Project Number
OER 41/08 AK

Project Duration
May 2009 - February 2012


Digital games are an important part in the lives of our children and adolescents. There are increasing concerns that playing these games can lead to addictive tendencies but the definition of what constitutes pathological gaming or ''addiction'' is problematic. Research findings in the literature have been conflicting and inconclusive. Findings from our longitudinal project funded MOE's EdRF and MDA on ''Effects of gaming on children and adolescents in Singapore'' show that playing games does have effects on the gamers. For example, positive correlations have been found between pathological symptoms and amount of time spent gaming as well as parental supervision, but negative correlations are found between pathological symptoms and higher academic grades, positive home environment and personal strengths variables such as self-control, emotional awareness and empathy. Videogame addiction is not listed in the DSM-IV as a psychological disorder, and there are ongoing debates as to whether it can be considered a primary disorder (i.e., videogame addiction or pathological videogaming) or a symptom of other primary disorders such as ADHD, depression, social phobia and anxiety. To empirically validate our instruments used to identify pathological and non-pathological gamers, we need to compare clinical and non-clinical gamers on these symptoms. This project, which includes a clinical sample of children and teenagers refered to the Child Guidance Clinic at the Institute of Mental Health with gaming problems, has the potential of yielding ground-breaking results to define more systematically the phenomenon of video gaming as well as to investigate if videogaming is a primary or secondary disorder. Secondly, while there are many accounts of programmes for gaming ''addiction'', there are as yet, no available research reports on the kinds of counselling strategies used. There are no reports on how counsellors engage gamers and establish rapport with them and what strategies are used. There are no studies that compares counsellor's strategies with that of the gamers' themselves. This project which involves interviews with gamers and counsellors, will provide information on how they identify or classify ''addicted'' gamers, on the counselling processes involved as well as how the effectiveness of counselling strategies are being assessed. Findings of this project will enha NIE's training of school counsellors as well as aid educators in the development of MOE's Social and Emotional Learning, and Cyberwellness programmes. Findings will also give school counsellors and clinicians a better idea of what constitutes pathological gaming and shed light on the effectiveness of counselling strategies used.

Research Themes
Children at Risk (Disability/Disorder)

Funding Source

Related Links
ReEd Vol 1: Gaming Addiction Exposed

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