<![CDATA[AIRUSANI - Research]]>Tue, 31 May 2022 16:49:44 +0100Weebly<![CDATA[Visual research]]>Fri, 02 Apr 2021 23:00:00 GMThttp://airusani.com/ppresearch/visual-research
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<![CDATA[Children's Mental Health]]>Tue, 30 Mar 2021 01:24:17 GMThttp://airusani.com/ppresearch/childrens-mental-healthMental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.

70% of children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.

The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.

Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:
  • being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
  • having time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors
  • being part of a family that gets along well most of the time
  • going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all its pupils
  • taking part in local activities for young people.
Other factors are also important, including:
  • feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
  • being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
  • being hopeful and optimistic
  • being able to learn and having opportunities to succeed
  • accepting who they are and recognising what they are good at
  • having a sense of belonging in their family, school and community
  • feeling they have some control over their own life
  • having the strength to cope when something is wrong (resilience) and the ability to solve problems

Changes often act as triggers: moving home or school or the birth of a new brother or sister, for example. Some children who start school feel excited about making new friends and doing new activities, but there may also be some who feel anxious about entering a new environment.

​Teenagers often experience emotional turmoil as their minds and bodies develop. An important part of growing up is working out and accepting who you are.

Risk factors that make some children and young people more likely to experience problems than other children:​
  • having a long-term physical illness
  • having a parent who has had mental health problems, problems with alcohol or has been in trouble with the law
  • experiencing the death of someone close to them
  • having parents who separate or divorce
  • having been severely bullied or physically or sexually abused
  • living in poverty or being homeless
  • experiencing discrimination, perhaps because of their race, sexuality or religion
  • acting as a carer for a relative, taking on adult responsibilities
  • having long-standing educational difficulties.

Common mental health problems in children and young people:
  • Depression affects more children and young people today than in the last few decades, but it is still more common in adults. Teenagers are more likely to experience depression than young children.
  • Self-harm is a very common problem among young people. Some people find it helps them manage intense emotional pain if they harm themselves, through cutting or burning, for example. They may not wish to take their own life.
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) can cause young people to become extremely worried. Very young children or children starting or moving school may have separation anxiety.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can follow physical or sexual abuse, witnessing something extremely frightening of traumatising, being the victim of violence or severe bullying or surviving a disaster.
  • Children who are consistently overactive ('hyperactive'), behave impulsively and have difficulty paying attention may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many more boys than girls are affected, but the cause of ADHD aren't fully understood.
  • Eating disorders usually start in the teenage years and are more common in girls than boys. The number of young people who develop an eating disorder is small, but eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa can have serious consequences for their physical health and development.

Help available:
  • Parental help:
    If they have a warm, open relationship with their parents, children will usually feel able to tell them if they are troubled. One of the most important ways parents can help is to listen to them and take their feelings seriously. They may want a hug, they may want you to help them change something or they may want practical help.
    Children and young people’s negative feelings usually pass. However, it’s a good idea to get help if your child is distressed for a long time, if their negative feelings are stopping them from getting on with their lives, if their distress is disrupting family life or if they are repeatedly behaving in ways you would not expect at their age.
  • Professional help:
    If your child is having problems at school, a teacher, school nurse, school counsellor or educational psychologist may be able to help. Otherwise, go to your GP or speak to a health visitor. These professionals are able to refer a child to further help. Different professionals often work together in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
    Most support for troubled children and young people is provided free by the NHS, your child’s school or your local council’s social services department.
  • Talking it through:
    Assessments and treatments for children and young people with mental health problems put a lot of emphasis on talking and on understanding the problem in order to work out the best way to tackle it. For young children, this may be done through play.
    Most of the time, the action that professionals recommend is not complex. and it often involves the rest of the family. Your child may be referred to a specialist who is trained to help them explore their feelings and behaviour. This kind of treatment is called a talking therapy, psychological therapy or counselling.
  • Medication:
    Most research into medications for mental health problems has focused on adults, rather than children. Children and young people need to be assessed by a specialist before they are prescribed any drugs. There is a lot of evidence that talking therapies can be effective for children and young people, but drugs may be also help in some cases.
  • Confidentiality:
    The professionals supporting your child will keep information about them and your family confidential. Young people can seek help on their own, either by ringing a helpline or by approaching a professional directly, but your consent is usually needed for them to get medical care if they are under 16.
    Young people have a right to privacy if they do not want to talk to you about their conversations with professionals, but you should still respond sensitively if they seem to be upset.

Organisations that can help (UK):
Information from mentalhealth.org.uk

Loneliness in Young People

Loneliness is a significant problem that can predispose young children to immediate and long-term negative consequences. Early childhood experiences that contribute to loneliness may predict loneliness during adulthood.

Many young children understand the concept of loneliness and report feeling lonely. For example, kindergarten and first-grade children responded appropriately to a series of questions regarding what loneliness is ("being sad and alone"), where it comes from ("nobody to play with"), and what one might do to overcome feelings of loneliness ("find a friend") (Cassidy & Asher, 1992). In a more recent study (Ladd, Kochenderfer, & Coleman, 1996), kindergarten children's loneliness in school was reliably measured with a series of questions such as, "Are you lonely in school?"; "Is school a lonely place for you?"; and "Are you sad and alone in school?" These studies suggest that young children's concepts of loneliness have meaning to them and are similar to those shared by older children and adults.

Consequences of Loneliness:
  • Poor peer relationships and therefore expressing more loneliness than peers with friends
  • Feeling excluded, which can damage self-esteem
  • Feelings of sadness, malaise, boredom, and alienation
  • Missing out on many opportunities to interact with peers and to learn important lifelong skills. Lonely children value peer relationships as much as other children

Contributing Factors of Loneliness:
  • Conflict within the home
  • Moving to a new school or place
  • Losing a friend
  • Losing an object, possession or pet
  • Experiencing the divorce of parents
  • Experiencing the death of a pet or someone significant
  • Being rejected by peers (including not fitting in, being picked on, taunted, excluded, and physically or verballed attacked; bullied and victimised)
  • Lacking social skills and knowledge of how to make friends
  • Possessing personal characteristics (e.g., shyness, anxiety, and low self-esteem)

Recognising Loneliness:
  • The child being timid, anxious, unsure of themself, or sad
  • Showing a lack of interest in the surroundings
  • Being rejected by peers
  • Avoiding peers by choice
  • Lacking the social skills to initiate or maintain conversations, or, having the social skills but is reluctant to use them
  • Being victimised by peers
  • Is the loneliness a pattern, or something recent?
  • Some children appear to have friends, but still report being lonely
These observations are best assessed to the truths by talking to the child individually and asking them how they feel, ​and also documenting their behaviors and responses to determine whether they are lonely or are happily and productively self-engaged.

Strategies

Although research in support of specific practices assisting lonely children in the classroom is weak, teachers might consider several approaches that may be adapted to individual children. Children who are aggressive report the greatest degrees of loneliness and social dissatisfaction (Asher, Parkhurst, Hymel, & Williams, 1990). Children are rejected for many reasons, and teachers will need to assess the circumstances that seem to lead to the rejection. Is the child acting aggressively toward others? Does the child have difficulty entering ongoing play and adapting to the situation? Does the child have difficulty communicating needs and desires? Once the problem is identified, teachers can assist the child in changing the situation. The teacher can point out the effects of the child?s behavior on others, show the child how to adapt to the ongoing play, or help the child to clearly communicate feelings and desires. Children who are supported, nurtured, and cherished are less likely to be rejected and more likely to interact positively with peers (Honig & Wittmer, 1996).

Children who are neglected or withdrawn also report feelings of loneliness, although to a lesser extent than do aggressive-rejected children. Because these children often lack social skills, they have difficulty interacting with their peers. These children may also be extremely shy, inhibited, and anxious, and they may lack self-confidence (Rubin, LeMare, & Lollis, 1990). If children lack certain skills, the teacher can focus on giving feedback, suggestions, and ideas that the child can implement. Children who possess adequate social skills but are reluctant to use them can be given opportunities for doing so by being paired with younger children. This experience gives the older child an opportunity to practice skills and boost self-confidence.

Children who are victimized by others believe that school is an unsafe and threatening place and often express a dislike for school. Furthermore, these children report lingering feelings of loneliness and a desire to avoid school even when victimization ceases (Kochenderfer & Ladd, 1996). These findings point to the importance of implementing immediate intervention strategies to reduce victimization. Teachers can provide firm but supportive suggestions to the aggressor. For example, teachers might guide and assist children in developing the life skills they need, such as respecting others and self, engaging in problem solving, working together on skills and tasks that require cooperation, and expressing feelings and emotions in appropriate ways (Gartrell, 1997).

Teachers can think about how the curricula might be helpful to a child who is feeling lonely. Some children may benefit by being given opportunities to express their feelings of sadness or loneliness through manipulation, drawing, movement, music, or creative activities (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 1993). Arranging the dramatic play area with props may help some children act out or express their feelings and feel a sense of control. Use of crisis-oriented books with children, referred to as bibliotherapy, may assist a child in coping with a personal crisis. Sharing carefully selected literature with children may assist in facilitating emotional health. Children who are able to express and articulate their concerns may want to talk about their unhappiness.

Information from mentalhelp.net
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<![CDATA[2019 and 2020 Video Game Statistics]]>Mon, 29 Mar 2021 16:20:48 GMThttp://airusani.com/ppresearch/2020-video-game-statisticsThe Industry
  • Gaming is the most lucrative entertainment industry by far, worth $145.7b in 2019, compared to $42.5b in Box Office earnings and $20.2b for Music
  • In 2017, there were 2.21 billion gamers worldwide
  • As at August 2020 there are an estimated 3.1 billion people consuming video games, representing around 40% of the population of the planet
  • Mobile gaming now has the biggest share of the market with 48% of players engaging in mobile gaming
  • Console gaming just outperforms PC gaming in the global games market with console taking 28% of market share and PC gaming taking 23%
  • By 2022 the global game market will reach $196 billion, while the mobile gaming market will rise to $95.4 billion
  • 82% of global consumers played video games and watched video game content during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns
  • 73.55% of gamers prefer single player games, 3.63% prefer Multiplayer games, and 22.82% like both equally
  • The PlayStation 2 is still the best-selling console of all time with 157.68 million units sold, and the best-selling console game is still Wii Sports with 82.65 million units
  • The global console gaming market was estimated to be worth $45.2 billion in 2020, showing an impressive year-on-year growth of 6.8%
  • Only 8 percent of gamers identify exclusively as console gamers, meaning most gamers play across multiple devices
  • In Q1 2020 US citizens aged 18+ years spent on average 14 minutes playing games consoles per day
  • LGBTQ+ households are 25% more likely to own a game console than the general U.S. population and are 91% more likely to be planning to buy a new one in the next 12 months
  • Nintendo have sold 60 million Switch consoles
  • ​There have 210.13 million Nintendo Switch games sold to date

The Players

United States, 2020 (Above)
SOURCE
Hours children spent gaming weekly in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2013 to 2019, by age group.
​United Kingdom, 2013 - 2019 (released March 2020) (Above)
  • Children in the United Kingdom are spending more and more time gaming, both on and offline. The number of hours that children aged between 12 and 15 spent playing games peaked in 2018, at nearly 14 hours. In 2019 however, this dropped to 11.6 hours per week. 2019 also saw an overall decline in gaming hours per week across the various age groups compared to previous years.
  • ​With the rise of smartphone ownership among children in the UK, the opportunity for gaming on the go has also increased. However, the number of children who have access to games consoles at home has actually decreased over recent years. This would suggest that more gaming is being done on handheld devices like smartphones and tablets, both inside and outside the home.
SOURCE
American Children and Video Games, 2019:
  • 73 percent of Americans ages 2 and older play video games, an increase of 6 percentage points since June 2018
  • In the U.S., playing video games accounts for 17 percent of consumers’ entertainment time and 11 percent of their total entertainment spend. However, while gaming engagement appears to be relatively stable overall, notable increases in both engagement and spending have been seen amongst kids ages 2 to 17
  • Kids are becoming a more influential part of the gaming marketplace thanks to games such as Fortnite and Minecraft, assisted by the growing influence of YouTube and Twitch
  • More than one-third of kids are spending more time playing video games than they were a year ago, while well over 20 percent are also spending more
  • ​ Most mobile gaming consumers play on a daily, or near-daily basis, while gaming on PC’s and consoles is more variable, tending to occur less often for longer sessions as it necessitates settling in for more intensive experiences
SOURCE
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<![CDATA[Academic Project Foundations]]>Sat, 27 Mar 2021 16:25:58 GMThttp://airusani.com/ppresearch/academic-project-foundationsUniversity of Oxford (Oxford Internet Institute) Study
"Groundbreaking new study says time spent playing video games can be good for your wellbeing."

The study: https://psyarxiv.com/qrjza/​
​"Video game play is positively correlated with well-being"
Study Authors: Niklas Johannes, Matti Vuorre, Andrew Przybylski
​2021

The abstract is thoroughly supportive of my project's motive:

"People have never played more video games and many stakeholders are worried that this activity might be bad for players. So far, research has not had adequate data to test whether these worries are justified and if policymakers should act to regulate video game play time. We attempt to provide much-needed evidence with adequate data. Whereas previous research had to rely on self-reported play behaviour, we collaborated with two games companies, Electronic Arts and Nintendo of America, to obtain players’ actual play behaviour. We surveyed players of Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and Animal Crossing: New Horizons for their well-being, motivations, and need satisfaction during play and merged their responses with telemetry data (i.e., logged game play). Contrary to many fears that excessive play time will lead to addiction and poor mental health, we found a small positive relation between game play and affective well-being. Need satisfaction and motivations during play did not interact with play time but were instead independently related to well-being. Our results advance the field in two important ways. First, we show that collaborations with industry partners can be done to high academic standards in an ethical and transparent fashion. Second, we deliver much-needed evidence to policymakers on the link between play and mental health."
  • ​The new study is the first of its kind. Rather than asking players how much they play, it uses industry data on actual play time for popular video games Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The study suggests that experiences of competence and social connection with others through play may contribute to people’s wellbeing. Indeed, those who derived enjoyment from playing were more likely to report experiencing positive wellbeing.
  • "Previous research has relied mainly on self-report surveys to study the relationship between play and wellbeing. Without objective data from games companies, those proposing advice to parents or policymakers have done so without the benefit of a robust evidence base."
    "Our findings show video games aren’t necessarily bad for your health; there are other psychological factors which have a significant effect on a persons’ well-being. In fact, play can be an activity that relates positively to people’s mental health and regulating video games could withhold those benefits from players."
  • "Working with Electronic Arts and Nintendo of America we’ve been able to combine academic and industry expertise. Through access to data on peoples’ playing time, for the first time we’ve been able to investigate the relation between actual game play behaviour and subjective well-being, enabling us to deliver a template for crafting high-quality evidence to support health policymakers."
  • The study explored the roles of player experiences, specifically how feelings of autonomy, relatedness, competence, enjoyment and feeling pressured to play related to well-being.
  • 3,274 players were asked to complete a survey designed by the researchers to measure well-being, self-reported play, and motivational experiences during play. The survey findings were combined with objective behavioural data for the survey participants, collected by the video game companies.
The article highlighting the new study, states the key findings of the 24 page document:
  • Actual amount of time spent playing was a small but significant positive factor in people’s wellbeing
  • A player’s subjective experiences during play might be a bigger factor for wellbeing than mere play time.
  • Players experiencing genuine enjoyment from the games experience more positive well-being
  • Findings align with past research suggesting people whose psychological needs weren’t being met in the ‘real world’ might report negative well-being from play.
Notes

"Video games are an immensely popular and profitable leisure activity. Last year, the revenues of the games industry were larger than the film industry’s and the number of people who report playing games has never been higher" (Page 2)

"Billions of people play video games, and if this activity has positive or negative effects on well-being, playing games might have world-wide health impacts. Therefore, empirically understanding how games might help or harm players is a top priority" (Page 2)

."..Nearly three decades of research exploring the possible links between video games and negative outcomes including aggression, addiction, well-being, and cognitive functioning have brought us nowhere near a consensus or evidence-based policy because reliable, reproducible, and ecologically valid studies are few and far between. In recent years, researchers and policymakers have shifted focus from concerns about violent video games and aggression to concerns about the association between the amount, or nature, of the time people spent playing video games and well-being. In other words, they are interested in the effect of game play behaviours on subjective well-being and by extension mental health. Yet, instead of measuring such behaviour directly, research has relied on self-reported engagement.
...As time has gone on, it has become 3 increasingly clear that defaulting to self-report is not tenable. Recent evidence suggests selfreports of digital behaviours are notoriously imprecise and biased, which limits the conclusions we can draw from research on time spent on video games and well-being." (Pages 2-3) 

"Mental health comprises both negative mental health (e.g., depression) and positive mental health. Positive mental health can be further divided into emotional well-being (i.e., the affective component) and evaluative well-being (i.e., the cognitive component)." (Page 4)

"Nearly all non-experimental studies examining the links between video games and mental health rely on subjective, self-reported estimates of video play time, either by players themselves or by parents.
...The focus of research is often on excessive or problematic video game use, routinely reporting positive correlations between problematic video games and mental health problems in both cross-sectional and longitudinal designs. Because self-reported technology use has shown to be a poor proxy of actual behaviour, such associations will necessarily be biased​." (Page 4)

"According to selfdetermination theory, any activity whose affordances align with the motivations of people will contribute to their well-being. Motivations can be intrinsic, driven by people’s interests and values which result in enjoyment, or extrinsic, inspired by rewards or a feeling of being pressured to do an activity. If an activity also satisfies basic psychological needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy, people will find the activity more motivating, enjoyable, and immersive - ultimately leading to higher well-being." (Page 5)

"If a game satisfies basic needs people will experience more enjoyment and higher well-being. Conversely, if those needs are not met, frustrated, or play is externally motivated, it is associated with lower psychological functioning. In other words, how play time relates to well-being likely depends on players’ motivations and how the game satisfies basic needs. Player experience would thus moderate the association between play time and well-being: If players are intrinsically motivated and experience enjoyment during play, play time will most likely be positively associated with well-being.

In contrast, when players only feel extrinsic motivation and feel pressured to play, play time might have negative effects on well-being. Such a mechanism aligns well with a recent review that concludes that motivations behind play are likely a crucial moderator of the potential effect of play time on well-being. However, it is unclear whether such a mechanism only holds true for self-reported play time and perceptions, or whether self-reported perceptions interact with directly measured play time." (Page 5)

​​"We also explored whether the relation between play time and well-being varies with players’ need satisfaction and motivations. We found a small positive relation between play time and well-being for both games. We did not find evidence that this relation was moderated by need satisfactions and motivations, but that need satisfaction and motivations were related to well-being in their own right. Overall, our findings suggest that regulating video games, on the basis of time, might not bring the benefits many might expect, though the correlational nature of the data limits that conclusion." (Page 14)

"Players who objectively played more in the past two weeks also reported to experience higher well-being. This association aligns well with literature that emphasizes the benefits of video games as a leisure activity that contributes to people’s mental health." (Page 14)

"Because our study was cross-sectional, there might also be a self-selection effect: People who feel good might be more inclined to pick up their controller. Such a view aligns well with research that shows reciprocal relations between media use and well-being. Equally plausible, there might be factors that affect both game play time and wellbeing. For example, people with high incomes are likely healthier and more likely to be able to afford a console/PC and the game." (Page 14)

"From a clinical perspective, it is likely the effect is too small to be relevant for clinical treatments. Our effect size estimates were below the smallest effect size of interest for media effects research that Ferguson proposes.
...However, even small relations might accumulate to larger effects over time..." (Pages 14-15)

"Although our data do not allow causal claims, they do speak to the broader conversation surrounding the idea of video game addiction. The discussion about video games has focused on fears about a large part of players becoming addicted. Given their widespread popularity, many policymakers are concerned about negative effects of play time on well-being. Our results challenge that view. The relation between play time and well-being was positive in two large samples. Therefore, our study speaks against an immediate need to regulate video games as a preventive measure to limit video game addiction. If anything, our results suggest that play can be an activity that relates positively to people’s mental health - and regulating games could withhold those benefits from players." (Page 15)

"Previous work has shown that gamers’ experience likely influences how playing affects mental health. We explored such a possible moderation through the lens of self-determination theory: We investigated whether changes in need satisfaction, enjoyment, and motivation during play changed the association between play time and well-being. We found no evidence for moderation. Neither need satisfaction, nor enjoyment, nor extrinsic motivation significantly interacted with play time in predicting well-being. However, conditional on play time, satisfaction of the autonomy and relatedness need, as well as enjoyment were positively associated with well-being. Extrinsic motivation, by contrast, was negatively associated with well-being. These associations line up with research demonstrating that experiencing need satisfaction and enjoyment during play can be a contributing factor to user well-being, whereas an extrinsic motivation for playing likely does the opposite.
...Conditional on those needs and motivations, play time was not significantly related to well-being anymore." (Page 15)

"Selecting two titles out of a wide range of games puts further limitations on how generalizable our results are. Especially Animal Crossing: New Horizons is considered a casual game with little competition. Therefore, although those two titles were drawn from different genres, we cannot generalize to players across all types of games. The results might be different for more competitive games. Different games have different affordances and, therefore, likely different associations with well-being." (Page 16)

Children and Gaming

The study: www.unicef-irc.org/files/upload/documents/UNICEF_CRBDigitalWorldSeriesOnline_Gaming.pdf
"CHILD RIGHTS AND ONLINE GAMING: OPPORTUNITIES & CHALLENGES FOR CHILDREN AND THE INDUSTRY"
Study Authors: UNICEF colleagues (listed on page 2)
​2019

Notes

"As children spend more of their free time playing online games, there are concerns over how this activity might have negative impacts on physical exercise, real-life social interaction or other activities important to children’s health and well-being. Research to date, however, does not suggest that gaming time causes negative health outcomes or ‘addiction’. Having said that, any activity taken to extremes will eventually cause some negative outcomes, including gaming." (Page 12)

"Although time spent playing games can crowd out other activities children may benefit from or be expected to participate in, this is not different from any other hobby they might engage in. Whether gaming is accepted as a ‘good’ hobby or not is often based on cultural norms and expectations. In some contexts, for example, children are expected to spend most of their time in school or on extra-curricular activities and girls, in particular, may be restricted from having access to devices connected to the Internet." (Page 12)

"For many children, playing online games with friends after school does not pose issues from a health perspective. However, due to the immersive qualities of online games and the incipient expansion of virtual reality games, children may need additional support to find a healthy balance between gaming and other activities. A small percentage of players do engage in gaming in an unhealthy fashion, just like other children (or adults) sometimes overdo things they enjoy, neglecting other important parts of life to a significant degree. While little research has been conducted directly with those gamers who clearly play excessively, early observations seem to indicate that problem gaming is more likely to be driven by underlying social or emotional problems than by gaming." (Page 12)

Page 13 addresses the condition officially known as Gaming Disorder and states that it differenciates from normailty, but in it's acknowledgement as a disorder it has, by effect, negatively reinforced a stigma around children who participate in gaming. It is however a strict enough classification to avoid over-diagnosis and it is an important disorder to recognise for the people that need help and professional treatment. But as noted above, this problem gaming is more likely to have underlying causes.

"As with all forms of screen time, care should be taken in the use of clinical terms such as ‘addiction’ when discussing concerns around gaming. Blurring the line between destructive and commonplace behaviour may make it harder to support young people in developing their digital literacy skills, healthy screen-time habits and exercising their rights when using technology." (Page 14)

"Games and the communities built around them can offer friendships, positive role models and messages, but may also present content and conduct that are unsuitable for children in general, or for children of certain age groups. Preventing such environments and building communities that make everyone feel welcome are key success factors for gaming companies - and for upholding children’s rights.

Social interaction is one of the main reasons people play online games. This type of community participation can take place entirely within the game while playing, or outside the game via forums or public streaming channels through which people can watch games and talk about them.

Research in the United States shows that online gameplay is second only to social media as the most common digital venue for adolescents to meet new friends, which suggests that online games may fulfil part of the need for social contact and support. Studies of online social interaction indicate that gaming can enhance a child’s social relationships, as those who play together are sharing experiences that can lead to strong connections and contribute to developing teamwork skills. In this sense, games can be seen as a digital space where children can pass time, develop relationships, learn, and participate in many important aspects of life. Online gaming can also offer new ways for children with disabilities to join a social activity with their peers." (Page 16)

​"Children will seek to identify with characters for the enjoyment of the gaming experience. To draw positive experiences and learning from games, it is important that they can find diverse characters in diverse roles. Despite the tremendous diversity of the gaming population, lead characters in games are still predominantly white males. Diversity in the representation of characters, choices for building avatars or choosing a character, or stereotyping in casting are issues for the gaming industry, as they are for the entertainment industry in general. Game characters frequently adopt unrealistic or cartoonish features: some male characters are exceedingly muscular, and female characters have enhanced curves. Although little research exists on this topic, there is a concern that these representations may exacerbate the body image issues that are increasingly prevalent among young girls and boys." (Pages 16-17)

I quote the above mainly in reference to considerations of the design process for my children's book - the importance of diversity in characters.
"Some games, for example, notably offer a wide range of customization options that can help children explore gender roles in a more fluid manner." (Page 17)
​While the body image and stereotypes of characters in games still needs significant improvement and attention, in related areas, progress is being made. More games are defying gender stereotypes, such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons allowing the player to dress up in whatever they want, with little mention to gender at all. In Stardew Valley, Rune Factory and Story of Seasons (all also slice of life games), there is no limitation on romance options - so no matter your sexuality or how you identify, you may 'romance' whoever you like. We are also starting to see more protagonists of colour and varied ethnicity, and female leads too, but it is true that more protagnists are still white males. Social media is helping to challenge and change these issues through voices being heard about equality, feminism, and the lack of females working in both the games and animation industries.
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<![CDATA[Charity Projects and Campaigns]]>Sat, 27 Mar 2021 16:20:22 GMThttp://airusani.com/ppresearch/charity-projects-and-campaigns
  • Gamers for Giving - "Founded in 2007, Gamers Outreach is a 501(c)(3) charity organization that provides equipment, technology, and software to help kids cope with treatment inside hospitals. We aim to inspire and heal patients through the power of interactive play."
  • Operation Anti-Loneliness - "Take on our 20 hour gaming challenge and support our Loneliness work"
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<![CDATA[Working From Home, and That Stuff]]>Thu, 18 Mar 2021 12:50:58 GMThttp://airusani.com/ppresearch/working-from-home-and-that-stuffSession with Claire Stewart
Feelings of stress, low mood or anxiety put you in a zone where you can't really produce work. And repeitive days - its a stifling way to live. We're doing work but it feels like it isn't progressing - but recognise that those small bits of work are still pushing you forward.

This is about easing the pressure on yourself.

Keeping journals or a notebook where you can spill our your thoughts and feelings can help you to manage the need to vent and negative feelings.
Don't downplay your feelings and mental health just because you're comparing yourself to some people who might have it harder. They're all still the same feelings.
Working while on call to other students can help to create what's been lost. Working along side eachother can help to recreate the atmosphere of the studio.
Being able to compartmentalise can help to seperate work from home.
Work space - what can you do to make that look more like a studio space? Make it inspiring! Decorate it with things you like to look at!
Reflecting once a week. How did this week go? What can I do better next week? Can be very essential to feeling in control of staying on track.
  • Maintain a creative momentum
  • Staying focused and productive
  • Looking after yourself
Your space
Compartmentalising. Having one space where you work, and one where you do everything else.
If working at the desk, maybe cover it over with a sheet at the end of the day. Removing it from sight.
You can't work constantly. You need to have a stopping point, a make a routine that you stick to.
Routine can seperate your day - tidying your desk, having a shower every day after work.

"Not something that I do personally, but I've heard that some people who work digitally create alternate accounts on their computers specifically for doing their work on. Like clocking in and out of work, but digitally."

Helping make opportunities for simulated social activities. "Every Friday lunch you and your friends have a virtual coffee meeting." Voice chat will do more for you than group chats, but only if they're working too.

Create a timeline from NOW to the end of the semester. For example:

It can help you manage your time and your stress levels. Create your own timetable.
It doesn't have to be fixed. It can change. Don't feel the pressure too hard, just try to stay on track the best you can. Weekly planners are also worth having. A to do list for every day.

Take it in chuncks. Looking at how much work you have to do can be overwhelming, you don't know where to start or how to get through it. So start small. Break the project down into smaller stages. Each stage has a set of tasks. Start ticking things off, and you start to build a momentum. You can slowly build up how much you work each day. Easing yourself in gently.
Research shows that small bursts are more productive than long sessions of trying to work and not feeling like you actually progressed. Changing habits can help with time spent trying to focus. Try to use a timetable to have a cut off time and a block of time that is a break. Self care is forcing yourself to know when to stop.
Make a list of the things that help you switch off and relax, and build them into your schedule. Invest a bit of time into this planning and it can transform your work and daily routine.

If you're struggling to focus, you can still spend your time productively, e.g.
  • Look at other illustrators and designers on social media
  • Watch videos of creatives talking about their work/art documentaries
  • Organise your folders, archive stuff you don't need anymore, just clean up
  • Write a list, or make a plan in the weekly planner. To do lists can be very achieveable small things. Taking down a big task step by step.
  • Listen to a podcast (examples: 3 Point Perspective, Illustration Department, Design Matters, Honest Designers)
  • Work on your skills, watching tutorials or trying things
  • Tidying up your social media accounts or your website
  • Looking at jobs/future opportunities/putting a portfolio together
Seperate your to-do list between "brain" and "no brain." And then you can pick up things that you're capable of depending on how you're feeling. But do not use these tasks to do no work at all, ever.
"Morning pages" can serve as a reset. Every morning, writing down everything in your head.

Figure out a sleep pattern. What works naturally for you? If it's sleeping later, and getting up later. Or the reverse. Find what works, and stick to it.

Time Management Tips:
  • Find your daily rhythm. What times of the day are you most productive? Early morning riser? Night time worker? Don't fight yourself against that.
  • Create a timetable for the coming week and see how you can manage to stick to it. Review it after and tweek it based on what you're capable of. It doesn't have to be super strict, but definitely get it down on paper or use an app such as Class Timetable. Schedule study time, commitments, downtime. It's a guide, not a something to chain yourself to. Don't beat yourself up if you can't make it exactly. Restart every day, adapt the timetable to how you work best, recognise your working patterns.
  • "The Pomodoro Technique"
    -Decide to focus on a single task.
    -Set your timer for 25 minutes.
    -Work on the task.
    -5 minute break.
    -Repeat.
    -After 4 rounds of this, you give yourself a 30 minute break.
    You aren't focused on completing that work, but focusing instead on making progress within these time periods. It's a habit you can develop and it's proven to work.
  • Set yourself weekly goals instead of deadlines.
  • "I've been thinking about how to use gamification in work motivation but haven't come up with much. Like making a reward for yourself after reaching a certain milestone"
    Forrest app. Tree grows when you focus and dies if don't work enough.
    There's another app that is like an RPG and you level up when you focus.
  • You can get apps that block your social media for a certain amount of time. And likewise, browser extensions for Chrome.
    Keep notifications turned off.
    Identify your time for social media and stick to it.
  • Prioritise
    - Physical to do list with tick boxes
    - Or, if you have Office 365, there is a To-Do app that syncs across your phone and laptop. Task lists.
  • Set weekly goals. Maybe use tutorials as a little dealine?
  • "Gongbang!" Korean origin. Study with me videos. YouTube, Twitch. Watching someone else quietly working can be motivational and help you stick to the Pomodoro techinque if that's being used. It can also be a replacement for working company or background noise.
  • Background noise. Game soundtracks, ambient noise (Noisli app), make a work playlist. Try having something on that you've seen a million times so you don't get visually distracted and it's still a comfortable thing to have on in the background.
Keeping Connected
  • Share work in progress with peers and friends. Get feedback.
  • Work-along. Work in silence with somebody else for company.
5 Steps to Wellbeing
  • Connect with people
  • Be physically active (build this into your routine! Tiny bits, doesn't have to be a full blown workout.
  • Keep learning
  • Give to others (do small things for your friends or family. It will make you feel good, and make them feel good!)
  • Pay attention. Remember to just breathe. Stress causes our hearts to go faster and therefore we breathe more. Having a breathing app can help reduce these stress levels.
More on livewellatcumbria blog or the NHS. Extended self-help:
Calm, Headspace, Forrest, 7-Minute workouts (for me, I would use Ring Fit.) The original vent padlet here.
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<![CDATA[ted talks]]>Mon, 15 Mar 2021 17:33:01 GMThttp://airusani.com/ppresearch/ted-talks
Good explanation of life-gamification and video game analogy.
  • (2016) 1 in 4 people in the UK alone will experience a problem with mental health every year.
  • The crossover between people who play video games and people with mental health problems is significant.
  • Video games are everywhere, and they also make us feel good.
  • All video games have the same fundamentals: challenge the player, and then reward the player. Being rewarded and feeling proud of something can be somewhat rare to someone with a mental health problem, such as depression. So to be distracted from real life problems, and made to feel good about something they've done, is special.
  • People with depression tend to have a "sad game." A game in which they gravitate to when things get particularly bad, to distract them and make them feel good when its needed the most. Cognitive therapy and motivation.
  • Games communities celebrate the game at focus, but also work around players sharing their experiences with one another. Being a part of a support network can be really essential for a person with mental health problems.
  • We should be talking about mental health more. Talking to others about our experiences, and listening to others' experiences.
  • Although this speech is now a decade old, it's message is still extremely relevant.
  • The (large) amount of time that we spend playing video games can be seen in a negative light. How can we spend so much time doing this, when there are urgent problems to solve in the real world? The reality is that we actually need to play more video games to solve the world's most urgent problems. Problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, obesity [and in the modern day, mental health too.]
  • When playing games, players feel a sense of urgency, fear, intense concentration, and deep focus on tackling a difficult problem.
  • Gamers sometimes achieve what is known as an 'epic win'; an outcome so extraordinarily positive that you had no idea it was even possible until you achieved it. In 2021, this slang isn't really used at all, but the prospect is the same; succeeding beyond your imagination and realising what you're capable of. We need to see this experienced by problem solvers worldwide if urgent real life problems are to be solved - against all odds, encountering the chance of an 'epic win'.
  • A common problem amoung gamers is that "we feel that we are not as good in reality as we are in games." 'Good' refers to both being successful and earning achievements, but also good as in motivated to do something that matters - inspired to collaborate and cooperate.
  • In game words, we often become the best version of ourselves. Helping others, sticking with a problem to solve it, no matter how challenging or how long it takes. Getting up after failure and trying again. In real life when we face failure and confront obstacles, we often don't feel this way, instead feeling anxious, depressed, overwhelmed, frustrated or even cynical. We don't have those feelings when we're playing games. What about games makes us feel like it's possible to achieve everything and anything? Can these feelings be applied to real-life problems?
  • Things that make 'epic wins' feel possible on games:
    -You are trusted with an important task right away
    -You are matched with a mission that is your level. It is always achieveable, with a little bit of challenge (on the verge of what you're capable of). You know you can do it, but you have to try hard.
    -There is always something important to be done, and always many other collaborators ready to assist you with your challenges. This is something we don't always have in real life. Help and teamwork at our fingertips.
    -Levelling up, stat increases (+1 Attack, +1 Skill etc.) and progression is like positive feedback. We don't get that feedback as often in real life.
  • In 2010, by the age of 21, each person raised in a culture with gaming, will have spent 10,000 hours playing video games. 10,080 hours is the total time spent in school in the US from 5th grade - graduation with perfect attendance.
  • 10,000 hours is also the theory of success. "Cognitive-science research that says if we can master 10,000 hours of effortful study at anything by the age of 21, we will be virtuosos at it. We will be as good at whatever we do as the greatest people in the world."
    This is an entire generation of virtuoso gamers. (And by the present time, likely a billion more virtuosos.)
  •  So what are gamers getting so good at?
    1. Urgent optimism (extreme self-motivation). The urgent desire to tackle an obstacle combined with the belief of a good chance of hope and success.
    2. Social fabric. Research shows that we like people better after we've played a game with them, even if they've beaten us badly. It takes a lot of trust to play a game with someone - trusting that they'll spend their time with us, play by the same rules, value the same goal and stay with the game until it's over. It builds bonds of trust and cooperation; stronger social relationships.
    3. Blissful productivity. When playing a game, we feel as though we are happier working hard than we are relaxing or hanging out. Self-optimisation in doing something meaningful with our time.
    4. Epic meaning. Being attached to inspiring missions and stories. Being invested in knowledge of an epic world and everything about it.

    Altogether - Gamers are "super-empowered hopeful individuals." They believe they can change the world, the only problem being that they believe this for virtual worlds, but not the real world too. But this makes sense, because gamers can achieve more in virtual worlds than they can in real life. Stronger social relationships, get better feedback, feel more rewarded - than in real life. The real world needs to work more like a game.


    In ancient times, games were created in the kingdom of Lydia to help keep humanity sane during a time of conflict and famine. The people became so immersed in the (dice) games because of blissful productivity and engagement, that they would ignore their problems. There was a pattern of eating on one day, and playing games on the next, and so goes the cycle, and according to Herodotus they passed 18 years this way.
    This is how we are using games today. We are using games to escape real world suffering. Escapism from everything broken about the real environment and everything not satisying about real life, and getting what we need from games. After the 18 years the famine wasn't improving so they played one final game. The kingdom was divided into two, and the winners of the game were to go on an "epic adventure" in search of a new place to live, leaving behind just enough people to survive on the resources available. DNA, geology and science have linked theories and evidence to this story being true. They may have actually saved their culture and civilisation by playing games.
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<![CDATA[The Basics of Video Games]]>Wed, 10 Mar 2021 04:15:27 GMThttp://airusani.com/ppresearch/the-basics-of-video-games
Notes
  • 'A game is a construct that organises play through a series of rules, for the purpose of achieving a set of goals, overcoming an obstacle, and/or attaining an objective.'
  • Any kind of interactive entertainment is a 'play-thing.' But there are two types of play-thing:
    - A play-thing without a goal is a toy.
    - A play-thing with a goal is a challenge.
  • Challenges:
    - Working to complete the challenge with no other active agent/person: a puzzle.
    - Working to complete the challenge with a second party involved: a conflict.
  • Conflicts:
    - The participants don't interact or interfere: a competition.
    - The participants do intereact or interfere: a game.
    (Imagine Figure Skating where no performance can interfere with the others, compared to Mario Kart where the participants are interacting the whole time.)
  • Participants in a game can be real people, or artificial intelligence (AI.)
  • Games have goals, like scoring goals or saving a princess. We achieve these goals by following the rules.
  • Games are only games when they want to be played, otherwise it's just work. Voluntary participation is essential.
  • Different games work on our games in different ways. Tetris: fulfils the desire to create order. Animal Crossing: fulfils the desire to be the centre of a tiny universe.
  • Video games used to be very formulaic but through technological advances and progression, games now appeal to a wider audience. More gamers means lower production/distrubution costs, and the production of a wider variety of games.
  • The statistics from this video are outdated. It is even more apparant now how many people play video games, and how it is a part of daily life. So much so, that most major schools and universities offer courses related to games. It is a wealthy industry. There are also the content creators and streamers that make money off playing games.
  • Gamification system of motivation through reward systems that coexist with the normal game objectives. This is carried through to impact real life - such as earning badges on an app for walking a certain distance. Achievements.
  • "Studies from China and Australia indicate that expert level video game players have a measurable increase in cognitive functions, perception and motor control."
  • "A hospital in Florida studied their surgeons who played video games before performing surgery and found that surgeons who played video games for more than three hours in a week made 37% fewer errors. They were [also] 27% faster during surgery over those surgeons who did not."
  • "An Oxford University study indicated that playing Tetris can reduce the after-effects of psychological trauma, and might offer relief of PTSD symptoms."
  • Virtual reality game Snow World for the Occulus Rift is used for pain management. "Burn victims report less pain during bandage removal and reapplication while playing this game."
  • Online game Fold It. 1000s of players help doctors and computers fold proteins and other structures to support drug research. In 2011, players helped scientists to solve a decade old problem in under 10 days.
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<![CDATA[minecraft's psychological benefits]]>Wed, 10 Mar 2021 03:32:44 GMThttp://airusani.com/ppresearch/minecrafts-psychological-benefits
Notes
  • Agency - Freedom, control, independence. Minecraft has the balance of relaxing control and rewarding challenge (flow). Agency makes this game a customisable experience unique to every player.
  • Mood management - The customisable experience, mood boost, stress reduction. Players can focus on building, enjoying the peaceful natural surroundings and the simple things to help to recover psychological resources used up in stressors from life. Or the player can focus on strategy, problem solving and adventure.
  • Social connection - Collaboration, prosocial behaviour, social support. Sharing experiences like others that make people feel more connected to one another and improve social skills.
    Sometimes we seek out things missing from our daily lives in games such as Minecraft. Lots of hours on a game can be that those particular psychological resources really needed attention. Games also help to cope with difficult feelings.
  • Mindful gaming - Purposeful play, self-knowledge, emotional self-mentoring. Recognising the connections between what we want to gain from a game and that connection to what is happening with our mood and wellness in real life in that moment.
    Purposeful play: 1. Set your intentions. 2. Pre-assess your emotional state. 3. Self-mentor yourself while playing. (I'm going to try this out. Personally, I recognise how games effect me because of subconcious self-knowledge and knowing what works for me. But going into something aware of this purposeful play might even amplify the effectiveness of video games in wellbeing.) You naturally may feel ready to stop playing when you've reached the emotional goals you had in mind.
  • Creativity - Self expression, self-discovery, self-knowledge. Minecraft is a highly adaptable game that can conform to the player's intentions. There is the freedom of control in being able to interact with and change almost everything.
    Expressing ourselves in video games is having a conversation with our inner-selves: who are are, our interests and priorities, what we do when there are no boundaries, rules, expectations or pressures to perform. Minecraft encourages this self-discovery through creativity. Animal Crossing and The Sims provide self-expressive creative opportunities for the same foundation of self-discovery. It's important for emotional well-being.
Minecraft can be recommended to anyone. It is adaptable to most people's preferred playstyles and can provide them almost anything they may need from play.
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<![CDATA[untitled goose game]]>Wed, 10 Mar 2021 03:07:20 GMThttp://airusani.com/ppresearch/untitled-goose-game
Notes
  • The charm in this game comes from not having to worry about a thing, and just being able to cut back and be mischevious.
  • Most people experience 'emotional labor,' which is the responsibility to 'induce or suppress feelings in order to sustain the outward countenance that produces the proper state of mind in others.' (Hochschild, 1983) i.e. Keeping a smile on even when you don't want to.
  • Lots of emotional labor leads to emotional exhaustion and burnout. (Basim et al., 2013) Having a game where you can just cut loose and only have to worry about yourself is theraputic, letting go of the strains and stress of being emotionally accountable.
  • 'Emotional labor increases perceptions of job stress, decreases satisfaction, and in increases distress.' (Pugliesi, 1999)
  • '[Players] were more likely to experience guilt [for in-game immoral behaviour] if they felt similar to their in-game avatars." (Alien, 2016) It would thus make sense that if you wanted to connect an audience to the avatar or protagonist and engage their emotions, there would be a focus on similarity and relateability.
  • 'Almost all media has a mixture of Eudaimonic (serious) and Hedonic (silly) elements, this mixture is important; taking in too much of one can cause an uncomfortable inbalance. Also, people that pursue both H and E have higher degrees of well-being than people who pursue only one or the other.' (Huta, 2016)
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