Mutual Support and the Influences of Playing Pokemon Go on Older People amid the COVID-19 Pandemic in Hong Kong

Ka Yi Fung, Gina W F Lai

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperpeer-review

Abstract

This paper investigates the role of technology in facilitating older people to maintain their mobile gaming network during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts of video-gaming on their wellbeing. Although Hong Kong did not impose strict social distancing measures throughout the course of pandemic, some leisure routines are discouraged, like chatting in a group in public spaces or having meal gathering. Also, the number of confirmed COVID cases also affected people’s motivation to leave home. Thus, many people feel lonely, isolated, and result in deterioration of physical or mental health. Under this situation, this paper demonstrates the role of technologies in maintaining older people’s leisure activities and its’ impacts on their well-being during the pandemic. Drawing on observational and interview data with around 30 older people who have played Pokemon Go since 2016 in Hong Kong, this paper finds that these older adults dedicated lots of effort and time to figure out how to install unofficial fake location apps in order to play the game without physically present in different locations and use different social medias for chatting. They do not have high digital literacy, but their strong mutual support equips and enhances their ability to play the game and interact with others in the virtual world. In other words, the technologies and mutual support are the key for keeping the gaming network. As the network did not breakdown, they would gather in the physical world when the situation is improved. This gaming network is important because the learning and gaming make them feel lesser lonely and get chances to share their feelings. More importantly, these older adults are not good at seeking information online. This network is a place for them to exchange information for preventing virus and check the accuracy of information they have.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2023
EventXX ISA World Congress of Sociology - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 25 Jun 20231 Jul 2023
https://www.isa-sociology.org/en/conferences/world-congress/melbourne-2023 (Conference website)
https://isaconf.confex.com/isaconf/wc2023/meetingapp.cgi/Home/0 (Conference programme)

Conference

ConferenceXX ISA World Congress of Sociology
Country/TerritoryAustralia
CityMelbourne
Period25/06/231/07/23
Internet address

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