Does Digital Game Play Affect Social/Emotional Child Wellbeing?

Jan L. Plass, Bruce D. Homer, Meagan Bromley, Fabian Froehlich, Yuli Shao, Jessica Young

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Can digital game play enhance child wellbeing? Applying a wellbeing framework that identified six dimensions of wellbeing (competence, agency, relatedness, curiosity, optimism, and reduced stress) we conducted a playtesting study (N = 25) to develop wellbeing profiles for six games. These profiles informed an experimental study in which 8- to 12-year-olds (N = 62) either played tablet-based casual games over an 8-week period (play group) or engaged in other activities (control group) in an afterschool program. We administered the Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction Scale (BPNSFS) as pre-test, and the KIDSCREEN-27, a standardized measure of wellbeing, as pre- and post-intervention test. We found that for children with specific psychological needs, the play intervention improved related domains of wellbeing. Results have theoretical and practical implications, including guidance for game designers to add features supporting child wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSerious Games - 9th Joint International Conference, JCSG 2023, Proceedings
EditorsMads Haahr, Alberto Rojas-Salazar, Stefan Göbel
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9783031447501
StatePublished - 2023
Event9th Joint International Conference on Serious Games, JCSG 2023 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: Oct 26 2023Oct 27 2023

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume14309 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference9th Joint International Conference on Serious Games, JCSG 2023


  • Digital game play
  • experimental design
  • wellbeing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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