A Multidisciplinary Initiative of Intervening Mobile Addiction via Family-focused and Gamification-enhanced Design

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Abstract

Excessive use of mobile and other electronic screen-based products among adolescents in Hong Kong and China is becoming much more notable these days. Overuse of mobile or Internet devices causes not only physical health problems but also behavioral additive symptoms like craving and withdrawal. Whereas family, as a potential psychosocial element for reducing the likelihood of addiction development among adolescents is substantially weakened owing to the deteriorating parent-adolescent relationships associated with growing excessive mobile use at home. Situations of potential over-dependence on this highly engaging medium have sparked great concerns of addictions services in Hong Kong. Based on the ‘family functioning’ concept and the ‘gamification’ theory, this paper reports on an ongoing collaboration between a Hong Kong-based social service center and a design institute, which explores an alternative ‘family-focused’ intervention strategy to enhance parentadolescent interactivities whilst addressing excessive mobile use of adolescents through specifically designed games. In order to reveal both the ‘usual’ mode of mobile usage patterns and the ‘occasional’ mode of parentadolescent interactivity of the targeted families, an interactive play-platform, and a specific lifestyle research method have been deployed. Initial results support the belief of integrating clinical and design practices for addiction assessment or even treatment. Moreover, feedback from project participants apparently reinforced the potential of “gamification-enhanced” design intervention for excessive mobile use in a family context. Through game and play, not only are parents-adolescent emotional connectivity stimulated, delightful memories of family activities before excessive mobile use are also relived and revealed. In return, further development of multidisciplinary approach of research and design interventions corresponding to addiction issues has been greatly encouraged.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAsia Design Engineering Workshop Proceedings (A-DEWS 2017)
Place of PublicationSouth Korea
PublisherSeoul National University
Pages4-16
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

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