Influence of Pokemon GO on Physical Activity and Psychosocial Well-Being in Children and Adolescents: Systematic Review

Influence of Pokemon GO on Physical Activity and Psychosocial Well-Being in Children and Adolescents: Systematic Review

Liang, H. Wang, X. An, R.
Journal of Medical Internet Research
BACKGROUND Pokemon GO, an augmented reality game with widespread popularity, can potentially influence players' physical activity (PA) levels and psychosocial well-being. OBJECTIVE This review aims to systematically examine the scientific evidence regarding the impact of Pokemon GO on PA and psychosocial well-being in children and adolescents. METHODS Using the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines and the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluations) framework, we conducted keyword and reference searches in the PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, and Scopus databases. We performed title and abstract screening, full-text review, evidence synthesis, and identified research gaps. RESULTS Our review included 10 studies that explored the effect of Pokemon GO on PA or psychosocial well-being among children and adolescents. These studies used diverse designs across multiple countries and regions. Pokemon GO use measures encompassed frequency, experience, adherence, and motivation. PA assessment methods ranged from self-reported questionnaires to technology-based evaluations and qualitative approaches. Psychosocial well-being measures included emotional intelligence, personal well-being, self-control, emotionality, and sociability. In general, the estimated impact of Pokemon GO on PA was positive, with gaming elements and engagement correlating with increased PA levels. However, the effect on psychosocial well-being presented mixed results, with positive associations for sociability but a complex relationship involving well-being and internet gaming disorder. The limitations of these studies comprised the absence of randomized controlled trials, heterogeneity in study designs and outcome measures, and potential confounding bias. CONCLUSIONS Overall, Pokemon GO tends to positively affect PA levels, while the impact on psychosocial well-being remains complex and requires further investigation. Future research should investigate the mechanisms connecting Pokemon GO use with PA and psychosocial well-being and the potential risks of excessive gameplay. These findings can help inform public health interventions to harness gaming technologies for promoting PA and enhancing well-being among the younger generation. TRIAL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews CRD42023412032;

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