In general, games and simulations provide positive affective results for students. These positive effects include increased motivation, engagement, and satisfaction.
However, many studies reveal that playing excessive mobile games negatively affects academic performance. Some studies also show that different genres of mobile gaming have different impact on students. A small number of studies also show that mobile games have nagative effects to students.
A lot of mobile games today require players to interact with other people in the game. This allows players to practice their social skills and develop an understanding of how to communicate effectively. Players also learn to take turns in a group game and share responsibility for tasks, fostering teamwork skills. These skills can be used in real life to build relationships.
A recent study compared the effects of a cooperative (vs. a non-cooperative solitary) mobile game on children’s social behaviors and positive affect during gameplay. The researchers randomly assigned fifth graders to play either a cooperative or solitary version of the game over four weeks. The results showed that the children who played the cooperative game engaged in more positive and neutral conversations with their peers, sought out help from other players when needed, and displayed greater positive affect during gameplay. This is the first experimental evidence that a mobile game can foster social interaction and positive affect.
In addition to improving a player’s ability to initiate conversation, many mobile games have adventurous story modes that encourage the use of communication and coordination. Moreover, players can compete with other gamers and even create teams, boosting teamwork and communication skills. Players can also learn to be more patient as they often encounter difficult characters in the game, thereby teaching them to appreciate other people’s weaknesses.
As the pandemic has caused a rapid modification in our education system, shifting classes to online learning modalities has given students a lot of free time which they use to engage in various personal activities such as playing mobile games. However, this can come at a cost as it may distract students from their academic responsibilities which is why the research is done to find out whether students tend to neglect their studies in exchange for mobile gaming.
This research utilizes an exploratory single-case study design to examine the main participant’s perspective on how mobile gaming influences their academic performance especially during the period of online learning. The participants were chosen through purposeful sampling and a semi-structured interview was conducted. Secondary participants were also interviewed including the main participant’s parent, teacher, and a friend. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis.
The study has uncovered several factors that influence the participants’ engagement in mobile games. The most notable are their desire to relieve and escape from stress and their need for social interaction. These desires are fueled by the content of the mobile games which are full of fighting and killing, gunfire, wild and weird characters, mechanical and rough movements, absurd plots, and fast rhythm. Furthermore, the player’s mental health is influenced by the games as they cause them to become restless, indifferent to others and impulsive. This could eventually lead to serious consequences to their life and career.
A number of studies have shown that playing mobile games can have positive effects on students, such as boosting their mood and cognitive development. However, some of these benefits are only possible when the games are not addictive and when the student has self-control.
Due to the rapid shift of education from face-to-face learning to online learning, students are given more time to indulge in other personal activities such as playing mobile games. It is important for educational institutions to understand how these influences the students’ academic performance so that they can make proper intervention measures.
It is also important for parents to be aware of the influence that mobile gaming can have on their children’s academic performance, especially during the conduct of online learning. By being aware of the possible negative impacts of mobile gaming, parents can provide their children with essential discipline and guidance to ensure that their child’s personal habits do not come at the expense of their school responsibilities.
The results of this study affirmed the Distraction-Conflict Theory which states that a person’s attention will be diverted from their primary task (in this case, attending an online class) when they are feeling bored or tired. The study further asserts that a student will not have a problem with his academic performance as long as he is in full control of himself, manages his time well, and is entirely aware of his limitations.
Students’ personalities affect the way they perceive and react to reward systems. For example, if a student knows that he will receive a reward every time he performs well in class, he may become addicted to the reward system and start performing good behaviors only for the reward.
In this case, rewards are no longer a surprise for the student, so they will lose their effectiveness. Also, if students are praised for doing good work or given classroom prizes, they might focus more on finishing the task to receive the prize than actually learning what the lesson is meant to teach. Watch Dan Pink’s TED talk on motivators for more details about this issue.
Moreover, reward systems can even destroy intrinsic motivation. If the teacher uses rewards to control the student or if the reward for doing a certain behavior is something that he doesn’t like, it can decrease the student’s motivation for that activity. For example, if a teacher gives students rewards for doing classroom chores or helping out in class, it could diminish the student’s intrinsic motivation to do the activities because those are not things that he personally likes.
Another negative impact of reward systems is their tendency to increase students’ sensitivity to punishment. Hence, it is important for teachers to understand the influence of reward systems on their students and use them in a positive way.