Since its launch on July 6th 2016, PokemonGo has become the most popular mobile game of all time, has amassed more daily users than twitter, and the game has been installed by over 15% of all Android mobile users in Australia. Many PokemonGo players have also taken to social media discussing how playing the game is helping to improve their mental health.
Mr Brad Shaw, Dr Louise Thornton and A/Prof Frances Kay-Lambkin are currently investigating how using PokemonGo might affect people’s mental and physical health.
For the first stage of this project, tweets using the #PokemonGo hashtag and that make mention of depression and/or anxiety have been archived by the team. Detailed qualitative analysis of these tweets will be conducted in order to more clearly understand people’s attitudes regarding Pokémon Go and how it might affect their mental health.
An online survey is also planned that, among other things, will ask people about their use of PokemonGo and how they think using it has influenced their level of physical activity, mental health, and how much they socialize. This research aims to understand who might benefit the most from playing PokemonGo and if this might be related to how engaged people are with the app. This part of the project is currently under ethical review.
These projects are the latest in a line of research conducted by the CREMS team, exploring how the use of gaming technologies can be leveraged for better mental health and to reduce alcohol/other drug use.