Christin Reisenhofer is an educational scientist and a passionate gamer, so it came as a logical consequence that she would focus on game studies in the context of educational science. She is employed as a Praedoc University Assistant at the Department of Psychoanalytic Pedagogy at the University of Vienna and as an external lecturer for media pedagogy and didactics at the University of Krems. She is currently conducting an empirical study with co-author Andreas Gruber on the question of how adolescents experienced the Corona crisis and the significance of computer games in this context.
Andreas Gruber (University of Vienna) is a social pedagogue, BA student, and a passionate gamer as well. He studies educational science at the University of Vienna and has designed and directed (social) media training courses for children and teenagers as part of his work in socio-educational residential communities. Based on his bachelor thesis, which was developed under the guidance of seminar leader Christin Reisenhofer, he co-authored the study below.
“But without games it would have been somehow even grayer”. About computer games, adolescents, and the question of opportunities for magic in the corona crisis.
FROG 2021 – Talk
Adolescents are considered to be especially affected by negative effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Multiple stressors and challenges associated with the pandemic can impact both the psychological and physical well-being of adolescents and young adults. Above all, the challenges that arose from the pandemic, such as limited social interactions and agency, as well as severely restricted access to education and leisure time activities, led to hardships for adolescents. It is all the more interesting that initial findings from empirical studies suggest that adolescents’ gaming increased during the pandemic. Digital gaming worlds provide a wide range of experiences and interactions, potentially substituting the lack of real-life access in a way. Agency, digital relationship building, and escapism may provide relief for players, especially in times of a pandemic. But to what extent can digital games counteract the challenges experienced in the COVId-19 period through their inherent immersion and provide opportunities to form and maintain relationships? How do adolescents experience computer gaming during this time – as magical or harrowing? This talk focuses on the initial findings of the qualitative-empirical study “Ich Zocke” (I play), in which a total of 15 gamers from Austria and Germany talk about their experience of the pandemic in terms of perceived stress, challenges, and their gaming behavior. The primary focus of the presentation will be on how the adolescents express and interpret their desire, ability, and necessity to immerse in digital gaming worlds. The secondary focus will then be on how adolescents evaluate computer games in terms of digital relationships in times of social distancing. Finally, we will shed further light on which games in particular were discussed by the interviewees and also on the basis upon which the game choice has been made, especially in times of crisis.