In the present study it was observed that electronic games, video games, computer and / or internet were practiced by the majority of university students surveyed, suggesting that the pattern found in school children and adolescents seems to persist after adolescence and is not related to age of participants. Electronic games seem to be part of the routine of this sample of students, who preferentially play action and strategy games, at home and at night, and refers to practicing the activity to relax, to be distracted, and for the pleasure in the challenge of overcoming steps, beyond pleasure to play with friends. Among the various leisure activities practiced, it was observed that surfing the Internet became a daily activity, to the detriment of activities such as watching TV. It was also observed that playing electronic games was more popular among men than among women, since it coincides with other studies. Students were divided into two distinct frequencies of play: occasional players and frequent players, and it was possible to observe significant differences between groups, suggesting the possibility of distinct profiles of involvement with electronic games. These differences may point to risk factors for electronic game dependence.
A significantly higher number of students classified as frequent players claimed to play more time per session, prefer strategy games, RPG and sports, play the challenge in overcoming steps and the possibility of playing with friends than those classified as occasional players. Role-Playing Games (RPG) and Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG), which allow multiple players simultaneously, have drawn attention to the fact that they are popular among players who have excessive use of electronic games. It is believed that MMORPGs have a high potential to induce dependence by promoting a contingent of intermittent operant conditioning, since the events of the game are unpredictable; for being played online, allowing the formation of social bonds, and thus promoting social reinforcement; and still have immersive properties, that is, players enter an alternative environment. Another aspect that seems to contribute to this addictive potential of electronic games, present in RPG games and also in strategy games, is the advancement component, that is, the need to progress and overcome stages. Coinciding with these data, in the present study there was a positive correlation between interviewees who affirmed playing RPG and strategy games and those who claimed to be attracted to the games for the pleasure in the challenge of overcoming steps.
The possibility of making friends also differentiated the students: more players classified as frequent reported that playing video games interfere with their social relationships and relate more to virtual friends than casual players. About 5% of players reported that they spend less time with “real” friends, meeting the hypothesis that suggests that these games can replace social relationships and encourage isolation. However, most participants responded that the practice of electronic games does not interfere with their relationship with their “real” friends; corroborating the hypothesis that they would enable new forms of socialization.
Items that are significantly more frequent than frequent on the PVP scale suggest that playing activity is interfering with the player’s life and may be considered warning signs for risky activity. When comparing students who filled more than half of the PVP scale, the likely video game addicts, with the others, were observed to have filled all but one of the items, evidencing a different involvement with the activity. Item VI, which did not differentiate groups, referring to the need to play again in the face of defeat or inability to achieve the desired goal, seems common to most players. Comparing these likely videogame addicts with each other, it has been observed that they play more strategy crazy games and RPGs, and that a significantly higher number report playing for the pleasure of the challenge, and for the possibility of playing with real and virtual friends, suggesting a similar profile found when comparing students by how often they play.
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