Problematic online gaming and the COVID-19 pandemic

J Behav Addict. 2020 Apr 29;9(2):184-186. doi: 10.1556/2006.2020.00016. Print 2020 Jun.


Stay-at-home mandates and quarantines related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have led to greatly increased participation in online gaming. Initiatives such as #PlayApartTogether that promote gaming for socializing and stress reduction may achieve positive outcomes. Although gaming can be a healthy coping strategy for the majority, it can also pose risks to some vulnerable individuals. Protracted periods of social isolation and technology-based activity pose the danger of solidifying unhealthy lifestyle patterns, leading to difficulties to readaptation when the COVID-19 crisis has passed. Balanced and effective approaches to gaming during the COVID-19 pandemic are needed to support physical and psychological wellbeing.

Keywords: COVID-19; addiction; coronavirus; gaming disorder; pandemic; screen time.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude to Computers
  • Behavior, Addictive* / prevention & control
  • Behavior, Addictive* / psychology
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods
  • Coronavirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Mental Health
  • Pandemics* / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / prevention & control
  • Pneumonia, Viral* / psychology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social Isolation / psychology*
  • Video Games / psychology*