Online Video Games and Friendship


Online video langitqq games are video games that are primarily played via the Internet or another computer network either locally or online. These video games allow their users to control virtual characters such as avatars and perform actions to achieve a goal. This may include fighting against other players or pursuing a mission set by the developers of the game. Since online games can be played between people from around the world, it has become very popular among teens, children, and adults.

The present study examines whether online video games can foster attitudes toward violence in two sample groups: youth and adults. The present study was a two-step procedure. In the first step, we asked participants to complete an online survey in which they were asked about their personal views on violence. Then, in the second step we conducted a test on the basis of the survey results. The present study examined the operational effects of violent video games on beliefs about interpersonal violence and school violence. The results of this study are reported in the current article.

In our first experiment, we included an additional factor in the design of the online multiplayer game: gender. In a sample of college students, we found that there was a significant difference in the extent of violent fantasies and violent behavioral experiences between women and men (Fisher, 1999). When we added the factor of gender into the design of the free-to-play online multiplayer games, the pattern of results became stronger. The results of this study suggested that people who play online games that require player responses to violence are more likely to exhibit hostile behaviors when playing these games. However, the results were also based on a small sample size and therefore, it is not clear from this study whether the phenomenon occurs consistently across a range of situations.

In our second experiment, we used the same online games design but presented them with the operational context of school environments. In this setting, we measured how often people express anger and other negative emotions toward other players in these free-to-play video games. We controlled for the same factors that were measured in the previous experiments. The results from this study suggest that people who frequent social interaction in schools are affected by these types of online games, even if they do not report expressing violent or aggressive thoughts and behaviors.

In our third experiment, we developed and tested two different forms of friendship backfilling technologies on an online gaming platform. In this setup, we had participants play one of their favorite online games as a group, or we had individuals play alone. Our main outcome measure was the relationships that developed through time between players and the friendships that they maintained between the other players. Our Google scholar study found that the friendship play frequency was correlated with the frequency that new friends were made on the platform (r = -.15). Although there may be some variability in the relationship between frequency of play and the formation of new friendships, the relationship between frequency and the maintenance of existing friendships was statistically significant (r = -.60).

These results suggest that online gaming systems may facilitate the development of relationships among game players, but those relationships are not stable and may easily fracture when the frequency of play declines. This would seem to contradict some of the prior literature on social media systems, which has typically attributed the decreases in social engagement and interpersonal contact with the growth of online gaming platforms. However, our study did find that friendships did survive the decline in friendships. It is not that game players would stop playing a particular game if they were aware that the game would cause them to lose social connections. Rather, it was the recognition that others enjoyed the game that kept these friendships intact.

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