Journal: JMIR serious games
Smartphones are often vilified for negatively influencing well-being and contributing to stress. However, these devices may, in fact, be useful in times of stress and, in particular, aid in stress recovery. Mobile apps that deliver evidence-based techniques for stress reduction, such as heart rate variability biofeedback (HRVB) training, hold promise as convenient, accessible, and effective stress-reducing tools. Numerous mobile health apps that may potentially aid in stress recovery are available, but very few have demonstrated that they can influence health-related physiological stress parameters (eg, salivary biomarkers of stress). The ability to recover swiftly from stress and reduce physiological arousal is particularly important for long-term health, and thus, it is imperative that evidence is provided to demonstrate the effectiveness of stress-reducing mobile health apps in this context.
Developmental disabilities are a set of heterogeneous delays or difficulties in one or more areas of neuropsychological development. Considering that childhood is an essential stage of brain development and developmental delays lead to personal or social burdens, the early detection of childhood developmental disabilities is important. However, early screening for developmental disabilities has been a challenge because of the fear of positive results, expensive tests, differences in diagnosis depending on examiners' abilities, and difficulty in diagnosis arising from the need for long-term follow-up observation.
The idea of using serious games to effectuate better outcomes in health care has gained significant traction among a growing community of researchers, developers, and health care professionals. Many now recognize the importance of creating evidence-based games that are purposefully designed to address physical and mental health challenges faced by end users. To date, no regulatory resources have been established to guide the development of serious games for health (SGH). Developers must therefore look elsewhere for guidance. Although a more robust level of evidence exists in the research literature, it is neither structured nor is there any clear consensus. Developers currently use a variety of approaches and methodologies. The establishment of a well-defined framework that represents the consensus views of the SGH research community would help developers improve the efficiency of internal development processes, as well as chances of success. A consensus framework would also enhance the credibility of SGH and help provide quality evidence of their effectiveness.
Pokémon GO is the most played augmented reality game in history. With more than 44 million players at the peak of its popularity, the game has sparked interest on its effects on the young population’s health.
In recent years, many studies have associated sedentary behavior in front of screens with health problems in infants, children, and adolescents. Yet options for exergaming-playing video games that require rigorous physical exercise-seem to fall short of the physical activity levels recommended by the World Health Organization.
Physical activity has multiple health benefits; however, the majority of children around the world do not attain the recommended levels of daily physical activity. Research has shown that the game Pokémon GO has increased the amount of physical activity of players and that the game has the potential to reach populations that traditionally have low levels of physical activity. Therefore, there is a need to understand which game components can promote initial and sustained physical activity. By using a qualitative research approach, it is possible to achieve rich descriptions and enhance a deep understanding of the components promoting physical activity among children in a game such as Pokémon GO.
Finding ways to increase and sustain engagement with mHealth interventions has become a challenge during application development. While gamification shows promise and has proven effective in many fields, critical questions remain concerning how to use gamification to modify health behavior.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth and other young people diverse in terms of their sexuality and gender (LGBT+) are at an elevated risk of mental health problems such as depression. Factors such as isolation and stigma mean that accessing mental health services can be particularly challenging for LGBT+ young people, and previous studies have highlighted that many prefer to access psychological support on the Web. Research from New Zealand has demonstrated promising effectiveness and acceptability for an LGBT+ focused, serious game-based, computerized cognitive behavioral therapy program, Rainbow Smart, Positive, Active, Realistic, X-factor thoughts (SPARX). However, there has been limited research conducted in the area of electronic therapy (e-therapy) for LGBT+ people.
Virtual reality (VR) therapy has been explored as a novel therapeutic approach for numerous health applications, in which three-dimensional virtual environments can be explored in real time. Studies have found positive outcomes for patients using VR for clinical conditions such as anxiety disorders, addictions, phobias, posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, stroke rehabilitation, and for pain management.
Poor physical activity is one of the major health care problems in Western civilizations. Various digital gadgets aiming to increase physical activity, such as activity trackers or fitness apps, have been introduced over recent years. The newest products are serious games that incorporate real-life physical activity into their game concept. Recent studies have shown that such games increase the physical activity of their users over the short term.