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Moral responsibility is never a spectator sport: On young people and online gaming

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Background: Massively Multiplayer Online Games create concerns for the health and well-being of young adults. The purpose of the article is to give a deeper insight into online game players’ ethical thinking and how playing online games affects their daily lives and relationships with others in the real world. Method: Data are collected from ten qualitative research interviews in Norway. The article contributes with two philosophical interpretations of the young people’s stories: the fundamental ethics of Emmanuel Levinas and Pragmatic Aesthetics. Findings: Online gaming can be a momentary aesthetic escape from reality, but players can become morally constrained when their behaviour affects those close to them. Constant conflict due to excessive gaming can cause them to retreat further into the game as an escape from real-world pressures. Conclusion: Moral responsibility is not only the young person’s concern. The diversity of moral concerns needs to be acknowledged.
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Keywords: Levinas; aesthetics; ethics; moral conflict; moral responsibility; online role-playing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Harstad University College 2: Harstad Family Counselling Services 3: Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences

Publication date: June 1, 2015

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  • The Journal of Applied Arts and Health serves a wide community of artists, researchers, practitioners and policy-makers evidencing the effectiveness of the interdisciplinary use of arts in health and arts for health. It provides a forum for the publication and debate within an interdisciplinary field of arts in healthcare and health promotion. The journal defines 'health' broadly which includes physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, occupational, social and community health.
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