Bet you didn’t know: video games are good for you; study shows social, political, civic effects

Consoles - Image 1Before, we’ve seen a handful of studies on video games and their varied effects on kids, teens, and even adults. Usually, the studies have to do with violence or sex or stress relief and whatnot. This new study is the first I’ve actually seen linking video games to civic development and political awareness. Check out the full article for an outline of findings that the research team has gathered. It’s a treasure trove of interesting little snippets of gaming goodness.

Gender differences among gaming devices - Image 1 

Before, we’ve seen a handful of studies on video games and their varied effects on kids, teens, and even adults. Usually, the studies have to do with violence or sex or stress relief and whatnot.

This new study sponsored by the Pew Internet and American Life Project is the first I’ve actually seen linking video games to civic development and political awareness.

It’s a pretty hefty report – over seventy pages in all. Titled “Teens, Video Games, and Civics”, this new study was based on a survey given to a sample set of 1102 teens ranging from 12 to 17 years old, and their parents. Looks like they covered all their bases – the data they gathered and presented looks exhaustive.

Pretty much anything you may have always wondered about is probably answered in the survey results. (Just a note: this is just a survey and shouldn’t be considered as cold hard scientific fact – that’s the iffy thing about surveys, no matter how you look at it)

Some of their findings gave me the “Err, yeah, of course we knew that…” feeling, but then again, this is a professional document and it has to involve some form of academic format. Other bits of info – charts, tables, percentages – were pretty interesting. (Did you know that Solitaire is the Top 4 most frequently played game out there?)

The following is an outline of the major headings in the full document. This should give you a clear picture of what their findings were (told you it was exhaustive). I’ve bolded some statements – some which I personally found either a) intriguing, b) amusing, or c) reasonably agreeable:

  • Virtually all teens play games.
  • Half of teens who play games do so on any given day.
  • Almost all girls and boys play video games. Boys report playing games more often and for longer periods of time than girls.
  • Younger teens are the most avid gamers.
  • Broadband users are slightly more likely to play for longer periods of time than teens who reside in homes without broadband.
  • The daily gamer: Young, male, and playing games online
  • Frequent game players are not socially isolated.
  • Consoles are the most common way to play games.
  • Personal computers are used equally by all groups for game play.
  • Younger teens are the most likely to play on portable gaming devices.
  • Girls and black and lower-income teens are more likely to use cell phones to play games.
  • Most teens own multiple gaming devices.
  • Teens play many different types of games.
  • Most teens play a variety of different game genres.
  • There are differences by race/ethnicity in the types of games played.
  • Lower-income teens more likely to play certain game genres.
  • Boys are more likely to play most game genres.
  • Frequent gamers play a similar range of game genres as boys.
  • Younger teens are more likely to leap into virtual worlds.
  • Three in ten gaming boys play MMOGs.
  • The average rating for teensÂ’ favorite games is just above a Teen rating.
  • Nearly one-third of young teens play M- or AO-rated games.
  • Games are social experiences for the majority of teens.
  • Many teens play games with others.
  • Teens also play games alone.
  • More than half of teens most often play with other people.
  • A significant number of online gamers play games in groups.
  • Most teens play online games with friends they know in their offline lives.
  • MMOG players are much more likely to play games with others online.
  • More than one in three teens has played a video game for school.
  • Both violent and nonviolent games were among the most popular franchises reported in teensÂ’ top three games.
  • Despite efforts to limit teensÂ’ access to ultra-violent or sexually explicit games, many teens report playing mature- and adult-only-rated games.
  • The majority of teens who play games encounter aggressive behavior while playing games, and most of those teens witness others stepping in to stop the behavior.
  • For many, it is more than game play—36% of gamers read game-related reviews, websites, and discussions.
  • Boys and younger teens are more likely read game-related websites and discussions.
  • Playing games with others online, playing MMOGs and virtual worlds all increase the likelihood that a gamer will visit game-related websites.
  • More than one in ten teens contribute to game-related websites.
  • More than one-third of teen gamers use cheat codes or game hacks.
  • Close to three in ten gaming teens have used “mods” to alter the games they play.
  • Teens who use game cheats and mods are more likely to visit game-related websites.
  • A majority of parents are aware that their children play video games.
  • Parents know what games their children play—at least some of the time.
  • More than half of parents report “always” checking video game ratings.
  • Parents of boys are more likely to intervene in game play than parents of girls.
  • Few parents play games with their children.
  • Parents are unlikely to emphasize the impact of video games on their own children.
  • Some civic gaming experiences are more common than others.
  • Teens have varying levels of civic gaming experiences.
  • Roughly 60% of teens are interested in politics, charitable work, and express a sense of commitment to civic participation.
  • The quantity of game play is not strongly related (positively or negatively) to most indicators of teensÂ’ interest and engagement in civic and political activity.
  • The characteristics of game play are strongly related to teensÂ’ interest and engagement in civic and political activity.
  • Playing games with others in person is related to civic and political outcomes, but playing with others online is not.
  • Youth who take part in social interaction related to the game, such as commenting on websites or contributing to discussion boards, are more engaged civically and politically. Youth who play games where they are part of guilds are not more civically engaged than youth who play games alone.
  • Civic gaming opportunities appear to be more equitably distributed than high school civic learning opportunities.

Yeah that last part’s a bit of a mind job.

If you want to read the full document (good luck!) you can find it at the Via source link below.


Related articles:

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.