While many may blame video games for keeping kids inside and isolated, one new study on the monster-catching app Pokémon Go found the game was tied to exercise and making friends.
The study, authored by University of Wisconsin-Madison teaching assistant James Bonus, found that playing Pokémon Go can be linked to positive outcomes such as friendship formation and walking — which in many cases “predicted enhanced well-being,” the study said.
“We tend to talk about mobile technology and video games in really negative ways,” Bonus said. “We wanted to paint a picture that technology is what you make of it, and it can contribute to positive life outcomes, too.”
The study, which surveyed 399 people online between the ages of 18 and 75, showed that Pokémon Go players were more physically active and more likely to be engaging in new friendships, Bonus said. “The short-term experience was contributing to people’s perspective that they were leading satisfied lives,” he said.
Pokémon Go debuted last year to immense popularity. The game’s success added billions to Nintendo’s market capitalization and led millions of users to download the app within weeks. Its developer, Niantic, says more than 65 million people play the game each month.