Internet and Video Gaming Study


Information

Emerging behavioural disorders and cyberbullying in the era of video gaming and ubiquitous computing.  

Please read the following Information Sheet & Consent Form before you start.
 
Introduction
The rise of ubiquitous (pervasive) computing and internet access in the last decade has seen a rapid increase in cyberbullying and pathological internet use and video gaming. Pathological internet use and video gaming are behavioural addictions that result in serious negative personal, social or occupational consequences. Similarly, victims of cyberbullying can experience significant emotional and physical harm as well as social isolation.   

To date the majority of studies investigating these emerging behavioural disorders have focussed on Asian populations and have centred on young males. To address this, the purpose of our study is to increase our understanding of online cyberbullying experiences and internet gaming disorder in adult men and women in Australia. Our primary aim is to collect data on internet use and video-gaming and to assess the emotional and educational or occupational impacts of these behaviours, and identify risk factors for pathological internet use and video gaming. The second aim of our study is to pilot our online questionnaire in a group of people that potentially have extensive experience with many of the gaming genres and platforms included in the survey. As such, at the end of the questionnaire, there will be an opportunity for each participant to comment on or suggest changes to the questionnaire as a whole. This will allow us to refine and improve our questionnaire for use in future studies in the general population.    

Who is invited to participate? 

We are trying to reach as many internet users and video gamers as possible in order to get a complete picture of the way pathological internet use and video gaming and cyberbullying affect Australians.   

What does participation involve? 
You will be asked to complete an online questionnaire about your attitudes, motives and experiences relating to cyberbullying, video gaming and using the internet and mobile devices. It will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete and can be completed on a computer or mobile device. You do not have to do the questionnaire all in one go – you will be emailed a link so that you can go back into the questionnaire without having to start again.   

Before you participate we need to formally ask for your consent. The consent form is located at the bottom of this page. We ask for your permission to collect, store and use the data as part of this project. Once you given your consent, you will then be directed to complete the online questionnaire.  

Who is running this study?

This study is being conducted by a team of researchers at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute (QIMR Berghofer). QIMR Berghofer is a not-for-profit research institute located in Brisbane, Queensland. The team is led by Dr Penelope Lind.   

Is it confidential?
Yes. All information and data collected for the study remains confidential in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) ethical guidelines and the Privacy Act. All information collected in this study will be collected using online questionnaires. As part of the consent process you will be asked to provide you name and contact details and your responses will be stored using a unique ID code that is automatically generated. These data will be stored in a password encrypted database. If you chose to participate, your name will continue to be on file at QIMR Berghofer.   

Your responses to the questionnaire will be held in a separate password encrypted database. Your responses to the questionnaire will be stored with the ID code and will be downloaded and stored separately to your name and contact details. When analysing the data collected in this study we will use the file which stores the questionnaire data (but does not contain your name or contact details). The information you provide may continue to be useful to researchers many years into the future, and may be considered for use in future projects. Before any future work proceeds it will be subject to review by the relevant ethics committees.   

What if I don't want to participate or what if I change my mind later and want to withdraw from the study?
 
A decision to participate in research should be entirely your own and you may refuse to participate, for whatever reason, in some part, or in all of the research, if you wish. You are free to withdraw at any time without giving a reason. To withdraw from the study you should submit your request in writing to the project investigator at internetandgaming@qimrberghofer.edu.au. If we receive an email from you asking to withdraw from the study we will obtain the unique ID code assigned to you from the file that holds your name and contact information. We will then remove the data associated with that ID code from the file that stores your questionnaire data.

Risks/Discomforts

Risks are minimal for involvement in this study. Some of the questions are about personal issues such as the emotional or financial impact of online behaviours and experiences on you. You will be asked to respond to these questions in a structured way for the majority of the questions. Please remember, that you may choose not to answer any questions that you do not wish to, and you are able to discontinue your participation at any time. If you find that you are becoming uncomfortable or distressed and wish to speak to someone about this, you can also contact:
  • the researchers (The researchers can be contacted using our free call number 1800-257-179, email  internetandgaming@qimrberghofer.edu.au)       
  • Lifeline (who provide free confidential psychological support, 13 11 14)
  • Beyondblue (who provide free confidential psychological support, 1  300 22 4636).  

Benefits

This survey will provide you with an opportunity for you to discuss, in as much detail as you like, your own personal experience with internet and video-game technology use. More broadly, your comments will contribute to a better understanding of the unique and often very personal ways in which different individuals interact with internet, gaming and mobile technologies. With further research, this knowledge will facilitate the design and implementation of more effective and appropriate services for individuals living with behavioural addictions. 

There are no direct benefits for participants. However, the study does provide a confidential forum for you to tell us about your experiences with the knowledge that your responses are considered extremely valuable and will be read by researchers who are seeking to improve our understanding of the prevalence and impact of behaviours related to internet use and video gaming in Australia. We also will be posting updates of the study progress online.

What if I have questions?
If you have any questions or concerns about this research project, you may contact us by telephone using our (Australian) free call number: 1800-257-179, or email us at internetandgaming@qimrberghofer.edu.au. If you have any concerns or complaints regarding the conduct of this study, you may contact the Chairperson of the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Human Research Ethics Committee via the Secretary on Tel: 07-3362 0117.