Pandemic Causes Video Game Addiction as People Seek to Escape Reality | Be Korea-savvy

Pandemic Causes Video Game Addiction as People Seek to Escape Reality


This file photo shows a person playing online games at an internet cafe in Seoul. (Yonhap)

This file photo shows a person playing online games at an internet cafe in Seoul. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, May 23 (Korea Bizwire)A recent study suggested that the growing level of video game addiction during COVID-19 pandemic era can be largely attributed to gamers’ intent to escape reality.

Jang Ye-beet, a professor at Aju University’s culture and contents department, conducted a survey of 256 online gamers in their 20s living in the greater Seoul area (153 men, 103 women) to study why they chose to play video games and measure their level of game addiction.

A statistical analysis of the data showed that video game addiction was largely attributed to the intent to escape reality, followed by a ‘need for social contact’ and ‘to kill time’.

Gamers were more likely to get addicted to games if they were trying to escape reality, contact others online, and play games to kill time.

Jang explained that while escaping reality may simply mean the urge to forget about one’s struggles in real life, it may also indicate the gamer’s intent to ‘lock themselves up’ without trying to engage with others.

These motives include the gamer’s defensive efforts to fend off loneliness and a sense of deprivation.

“The pandemic has led people to gain more knowledge about social issues through online channels, exposing them to more opportunities to compare themselves with others,” Jang explained.

As for the need to play games to connect with others, Jang argued that social distancing measures have led people in their 20s to satisfy their need to communicate with others through games.

“Gamers in their 20s, who are in their prime of social activity, have naturally used video games as a platform for escaping reality or communicating with others during the pandemic,” Jang said. “These motives, however, may lead them to game addiction.”

H. M. Kang (hmkang@koreabizwire.com)

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