Researchers have long noted concern over the potential consequences of utilizing the Internet for social purposes. Online games are of particular concern, as they not only provide a social space, but one that is characterized by shared, playful, and often novel, activities. This difference is key, as these features can contribute to sustainable levels of intimacy between users that are not traditionally found in other mediated spaces. This could lead to preference for online interaction that is potentially greater than other mediated outlets and, consequently, through prolonged engagement, a variety of negative consequences for the player.
In July 2014, I will be chairing a symposium discussing these issues at the 28th annual International Congress of Applied Psychology. The symposium will bring together an interdisciplinary team of scholars to discuss the impact of online video game involvement on various aspects of inter-and intra-personal sociability. Taking an interdisciplinary perceptive, this panel will provide insight into the current state of the research and challenge the anecdotal beliefs about the long-term social impact of online video game play on its users.
The panel will feature some exceptional scholars, including Ashley Brown (University of Manchester), Emese Domahidi (University of Münster), Zaheer Hussain (University of Derby), and Daria Kuss (Birmingham City University).
Topics will include the impact of online video game involvement on social skills, the role of intimacy and friendship as a potential positive motivating factor within OVG communities, the social impact of modality switching processes between offline and online interpersonal relationships, the psychological links between social networking and online gaming, and their influence on self-esteem and well-being, and the impact of online game addiction on psychosocial outcomes.