Mobile Gaming & Mental Health
We asked mobile gamers the impact mobile gaming has on their mental health and what they perceive as its benefits and drawbacks.
Key insights from the research:
- 76 million* American gamers say that mobile gaming has improved their mental health
- Half (50%) of gamers say mobile gaming has helped with creativity
- However, over a quarter (28%) feel they spend too much time playing games on their phone
- Entertainment (65%), stress relief (53%), and keeping an active mind (50%) are the top three reasons for playing mobile games
Over half (53%) of U.S. gamers say mobile gaming has helped improve their mental health. This rises to almost two thirds (65%) among those who play more than two hours a day, and is particularly true for those who say they play for social connection (72%).
Half (50%) of those who game say mobile gaming has helped with their creativity, with this highest among the millennial age group (64%). Similarly, millennials are the generation most likely to say mobile gaming has helped with their mental health, with three fifths (59%) saying it’s helped their mental wellbeing, vs 49% of Gen Z and 50% of Gen X.
Despite these benefits of mobile gaming, some US gamers are concerned their gaming may be excessive with over a quarter (28%) feeling they spend too much time playing games on their phone. This figure rises to 36% among Gen Z and millennials and also increases up to 52% for those who play for more than 6 hours a day.
Those who feel they spend too much time playing mobile games have experienced sleep disturbance (33%), decrease in productivity (31%), and decrease of social/conversation skills (30%) as a result. In addition, over a quarter (26%) said it meant they missed personal goals such as health goals or chores, and just under a quarter (24%) said gaming too much made them more withdrawn.
Looking again at the different age groups, millennials who feel they play too much are more likely to experience their social skills decreasing (37%) than their Gen Z counterparts (23%), and are the most likely to spend too much money on mobile games (31%).
Considering the reasons people play mobile games, the top three are for entertainment (65%), stress relief (53%) and keeping an active mind (50%). Interestingly, when looking at millennials and Gen X gamers, their reasons for mobile gaming tend to vary from each other. Millennials are more likely to play mobile games for the feeling of satisfaction (42%), learning (27%) and social connection (25%); meanwhile, for Gen X gamers, it’s all about stress relief (59%).
*29.3% in a nationally representative sample of US adults, which extrapolates to 75,689,902 adults (using the US adult population figure of 258,327,312 as a benchmark).
**10.2% in a nationally representative sample of US adults, which extrapolates to 26,349,386 adults (using the US adult population figure of 258,327,312 as a benchmark).
Opinium conducted research among 2,000 nationally representative US adults from April 11th – to April 18th, 2023.