The effectiveness of a parental guide for prevention of problematic video gaming in children: A public health randomized controlled intervention study

Elfrid Krossbakken, Torbjørn Torsheim, Rune Aune Mentzoni, Daniel Luke King, Bjørn Bjorvatn, Ingjerd Meen Lorvik, Ståle Pallesen

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23 Citations (Scopus)
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Background and aims: Excessive use of video games among children and adolescents is a growing concern. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a brief parental guide with advices and strategies for regulating video gaming in children. Methods: A random sample of guardians of children between the age of 8-12 years old (N = 5, 864) was drawn from the Norwegian Population Registry and equally randomized into an intervention and a control condition. A parental guide based on clinical and research literature was distributed by postal mail to those in the intervention condition. A 4-month follow-up survey comprising questions about problematic video gaming, gaming behavior, sleep activity, and parental video game regulation behavior was administered. Results: Independent t-tests revealed no significant differences between the two conditions (N = 1, 657, response rate 30.1%) on any outcome measure. An ANOVA with planned comparisons showed that respondents who reported that they had read and followed the parental guide reported more video game problems and used more parental mediation strategies than those who did not read and follow the guide. Conclusions: We found no evidence for the effectiveness of the psychoeducational parental guide on preventing problematic video gaming in children. However, the guide was read and positively assessed by a significant proportion of guardians. Differences between those who studied the guide and those who did not may indicate that parental guides are better aimed at providing important information to those who already have problems rather than as a mean of primary prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-61
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License,
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and
source are credited, a link to the CC License is provided, and changes – if any – are indicated.


  • Parental guide
  • Problematic video gaming
  • Video game addiction


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