Association of video gaming with some risky behaviors of secondary school adolescents in Abha, Southwestern Saudi Arabia

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Daqahlia, Egypt.& Department of Family and Community Medicine ,

2 Medical Intern, College of Medicine, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia


AIM: The aim of this study was to describe the patterns of video gaming among secondary school adolescents and to investigate their association with some risky behaviors.
MATERIALS AND METHOS: A cross-sectional study was carried out on 336 students randomly selected from secondary schools in Abha City, Saudi Arabia, during the academic year 2015–2016. A predesigned self-report questionnaire was used to assess students’ sociodemographic data, pattern, motivators and drawbacks of video gaming, previous academic year grades, history of violent acts, road traffic accidents (RTA), and violation of traffic rules. Weight and height were measured for every participant and BMI was calculated.
RESULTS: About 80% of students played video games and 76% owned a video game machine. The median onset of video gaming was 10 years. The most important motivator for video gaming was ‘give a chance for fun and excitement’ (93.7%), followed by ‘give a chance to get rid of the boredom and leisure’ (92.3%). The most frequently reported social drawbacks were interfering with sleep time (69%), physical activity (64%), and meal time (59%). BMI was not significantly associated with the pattern of video game playing (P>0.05). Academic performance was significantly lower among students who used to game in cybercafes (P=0.001). Prevalence of tobacco smoking and some risky behaviors such as traffic rule violations, significant RTA, and violence were significantly more encountered among those preferring race and drift games (P<0.05) and used to game in cybercafes (P<0.05).
CONCLUSION: Video gaming among secondary school students in Abha, Saudi Arabia, is relatively high. Some risky behaviors such as smoking, violence, significant RTA, and violation of traffic rules were significantly associated with race and drift playing and gaming in cybercafes. School-based educational programs for both adolescents and their parents should be provided to gain skills about effective time management, avoid over-gaming, risky games and gaming in cybercafes. Legal restriction on importing and selling risky video games should be considered by the government.