Investigator grant to help problem gaming

Developing effective programs to address young people’s dependency on video games and digital technologies is the goal of a major new Flinders University program.

Led by chief Investigator, Associate Professor Daniel King from the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work, the five-year $2.79 million National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator Grant is targeting problem gamers at a critical stage of life to improve health outcomes.

The project, ‘Evidence-based interventions for gaming disorder in adolescents and young adults,’ will tackle the rising problem of excessive gaming, which is estimated to affect more than 300,000 Australians’ health and mental wellbeing, social relationships, as well as school and work engagement and productivity.

Associate Professor Daniel King at Flinders University, Bedford Park campus.

“Digital gaming is a globally popular hobby, but it is not always harmless entertainment. At its worst, problem or excessive gaming is an addictive disorder, like alcohol use and gambling disorders, and has major health and social impacts now recognised by the World Health Organization,” says Associate Professor King, a clinical psychologist and global expert in internet-based addictions.

“This project aims to meet the urgent need for specialised help for vulnerable young people and their families who struggle to manage these issues.

“Addressing problem gaming serves Australia’s national interests in youth mental health and eSafety, school productivity, physical health, and family and other relationships,” says Associate Professor King, who is aligned with the Flinders Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

The project, set to begin in 2025, will develop new resources and intervention programs targeting problem gaming in young populations, including a co-designed program to help parents managing adolescents with problem gaming issues.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Ray Chan says the new Australian Government NHMRC-funded project highlights the high standard of Psychology research efforts at Flinders University.

“Psychology study and research at Flinders University are highly regarded, and we continue to pioneer new areas of education and in-depth research investigations in the field,” says Professor Chan.

“The internet and digital technologies are rapidly changing the way we live and behave, so this latest project is both timely and important to the health and wellbeing of our young people.”

Listen to Associate Professor Dan King’s Flinders Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing annual lecture on mobile phone bans in schools here 

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