Taiwan introduces world's first evaluation questionnaire on problematic mobile gaming

Taiwan National Health Research Institutes warns of mobile gaming addiction among adolescents

Mobile gaming addiction prevalent among Taiwanese adolescents. (Pixabay photo)

Mobile gaming addiction prevalent among Taiwanese adolescents. (Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) on Monday (Aug. 17) introduced the world's first set of evaluation questionnaires on problematic mobile gaming (PMG) and highlighted the prevalence of such addiction among adolescents in Taiwan.

During a press conference, NHRI Assistant Investigator and Attending Physician Lin Yu Hsuan (林煜軒) pointed out that global researchers have shifted their focus from internet addiction to problematic mobile gaming instead. He said individuals who develop mobile gaming addiction display very similar symptoms to people with substance abuse problems.

According to Lin, the NHRI research team was able to create the Problematic Mobile Gaming Questionnaire (PMGQ) which allows mobile game users to evaluate their level of addiction as well as associated symptoms, such as social anxiety, depression, and loneliness. The PMGQ was built as a 12-item self-report questionnaire rated on a 4-point Likert scale and has a condensed version consisting of only four questions.

Lin noted that the items are used to reveal addiction factors, including compulsion, tolerance, and withdrawal. He cautioned that individuals who scored higher than 10 points on the condensed version have likely developed mobile gaming addiction based on research findings.

Lin said a total of 10,775 Taiwanese students with smartphones from grade four to senior high school were recruited to complete the questionnaire, including 113 senior high school students who were interviewed by psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. He said the demographic data showed that PMG is extremely prevalent among young Taiwanese, with symptoms found in 19.1 percent of elementary school students, 20.5 percent of junior high school students, and 19 percent of high school students.

Meanwhile, Lin stressed that PMG can also be reflected in mobile game players' willingness to make in-app purchases (IAP). He said the research found that more than 36 percent of junior high school students and 42 percent of high school students are willing to spend on digital items or additional functionality within the games, which is rather concerning.

Lin advised the public to use the PMGQ to predict and prevent gaming disorder, adding that parents should pay attention to whether they have arranged outdoor activities for their children. He said individuals experiencing PMG should seek professional help to break their smartphone habits, reported CNA.

Condensed version of Problematic Mobile Gaming Questionnaire. (NHRI image)