An Explorative Study of How Children Perceive Their Play Experience of Digital Games

Prof Doc Thesis

Aslan, E. 2020. An Explorative Study of How Children Perceive Their Play Experience of Digital Games. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsAslan, E.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Digital gaming has become a staple in the play repertoire of most children. Consequently, so has research into its potential impact on childhood development. Within this field of research, one branch has specialized in the exploration of the possible educational potential of digital gaming.
This study aims at an investigation of the experiences and meaning-making of children of a middle age with playing in general and digital game playing from a sociocultural and humanistic-existential perspective. Through this perspective, the study attempts an exploration of how children can learn from digital games beyond mere instrumental learning, engaging instead in deeper and less formal learning processes which allow them to mature, to gain new insights and to form new identities.
The study takes a mixed method approach. Thirty-two children (mean age 10.5) were asked to fill out questionnaires on their digital gaming habits, and eight children (mean age 10.1) were interviewed in friendship pairs on their play and digital game play experiences.
Reflective thematic analysis was used to analyse the interviews. Findings suggest that children experience digital gaming as a digital extension of offline play with many common play characteristics. However, they also point out intricate differences. Children perceive their opportunities for growth and agency in digital games as limited, while restructured social rules result in some children experiencing greater self-efficacy and self-concepts. This study is arguably the first to explore children’s emotions and feelings about offline play in relation to digital game play.
Based on the findings, suggestions for the use of digital gaming in a therapeutic context are offered. A comprehensive literature review and a critique of this study are included and further implications are considered.

KeywordsComputer Games; Learning
PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication dates
Online25 Sep 2020
Publication process dates
SubmittedApr 2020
Deposited25 Sep 2020
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License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
File access level: Anyone

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