Demographic and family-related predictors of online gaming addiction in adolescents

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Introduction. Dependence on the Internet and online games is a growing problem worldwide. Aim. The aim of this study was to determine the differences between girls and boys as well as between adolescents living in urban vs. rural areas in regard to prevalence of playing online games, the amount of time devoted to playing games, the severity of symptoms of online gaming addiction, and preferences for game genres. Also, significant predictors of online game addiction in the studied group of young people were identified. Material and methods. The study involved 827 adolescents aged 14 to 19 years. When it comes to 488 (60.02%) of them, they lived in the countryside and 325 (39.98%) in a city. The following instruments were used: a sociodemographic questionnaire, the Online Gaming Addiction Questionnaire and the Disturbed Family Relations Questionnaire, all developed by Pawłowska and Potembska. Results. Statistically significant differences were found between girls and boys and between adolescent urban and rural dwellers in prevalence of playing online games, severity of online gaming addiction symptoms, preferences for specific game genres, and the amount of time spent playing online games. Conclusions. 1. Significantly more boys than girls played online games. Boys devoted more time to playing and had more severe symptoms of addiction to online games. 2. Adolescent city dwellers spent significantly more time playing online games, mainly to relieve boredom and experience new sensations, than young people living in the countryside. 3. Major predictors of online gaming addiction included male gender, urban residence, domestic violence, mother’s child-raising rules being challenged by the father, and the child’s sense of responsibility for his/her parents.

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