Research: gaming addiction and phishing
Ciara Arnot Community Advisor •
InternetNZ has a proud history of supporting Internet research. Our grants programme offers us the unique opportunity to engage with researchers across Aotearoa who contribute to building the body of knowledge in and around the Internet.
Below are some highlights from published research that InternetNZ has funded.
Dr Simone Rodda, University of Auckland, A brief internet-delivered intervention for the reduction of gaming-related harm: A feasibility study
In a 2018 grant, Dr Simone Rodda completed three feasibility studies to assess brief self-managed online interventions for reducing addictive Internet behaviours:
- Internet/social media
- Pornography consumption
In 2020, the study relating to gaming addiction was published. Video gaming is a billion-dollar industry, and Gaming Disorder is a recognised mental health condition that appears to impact adults and adolescents.
The Internet-delivered intervention targeted the gap between intention and behaviour. It used personal goals and action plans, coping plans and relapse prevention and access to a coach for support and feedback. The testing involved a follow up after three months, with the intervention proving feasible and showing high satisfaction.
People typically worked to substitute behaviours and make lifestyle changes. The most common challenge was time management and social pressure. Those people who worked through the intervention reported an increase in well-being and reduced time spent gaming.
The study demonstrates that brief Internet-delivered intervention shows promise. It could be useful for those unable or unwilling to access face-to-fact treatment.
Dr Farkhondeh Hassandoust, Auckland University of Technology, The Role of Contextualization in Individuals’ Vulnerability to Phishing Attempts
With our increasing reliance on technology and the Internet, cybercrime has increased. Phishing manipulates people to reveal confidential details by exploiting their habits and cognitive biases.
This study sought to understand how framing and context can make phishing more effective by appealing to our psychological vulnerabilities. The research used two fake phishing campaigns and an online survey.
It draws on:
- Heuristic-systematic processing — which is a model used to explain how people receive persuasive messages either by forming quick judgements or through careful and deliberate thinking.
- The anchoring effect — which is our cognitive bias of letting all information be swayed by the initial piece of information.
This study also looks at the mismatch between the way people expect to react to phishing attempts and their actual reactions, finding that we tend to overestimate our ability to react appropriately to phishing.
Each year InternetNZ gives out community grants to provide support for community-led initiatives that extend the availability, use, and benefit of the Internet and its associated technologies and applications in Aotearoa. These initiatives received funding in 2017.