Deep Thoughts, Second Life, Serious games

Teenage Gaming Improves civic engagement: PEW Study

Virtual World News recently reported on the PEW/Internet & American Life Project survey that reported that almost all teens play video games and around 10% visit virtual worlds. Even as telling, though, was the finding that gaming improves the civic and political engagement of the surveyed teens.

The numbers are remarkable: 97% of the 1,102 teens surveyed play video games, and that, in 2007, 8.2% of all teens visited virtual worlds at least once per month, a number expected to rise to 12% in 2008 and to 20% by 2011. The summary from the PEW Web site is revealing:

Game playing is universal, with almost all teens playing games and at least half playing games on a given day. Game playing experiences are diverse, with the most popular games falling into the racing, puzzle, sports, action and adventure categories.

Game playing is also social, with most teens playing games with others at least some of the time and can incorporate many aspects of civic and political life.

Another major findings is that game playing sometimes involves exposure to mature content, with almost a third of teens playing games that are listed as appropriate only for people older than they are.

The study also noted little difference in racial or gender makeup between those who visited virtual worlds, citing only that younger people have frequented them more often.

Virtual Worlds News compares the PEW findings with those of eMarketer and K Zero, and finds the stats to be marginally different, meaning that it does seem that, according to the numbers, virtual world usage will continue to be on the upswing across the teenage spectrum, who of course will blossom into wage-earning, consumer-oriented adults.

As for the findings about civic engagement, the PEW researchers concluded that hands-on learnings and experiencing alternate worlds were helpful in creating a sense of civics, as reported on MSNBC. The researchers also noted that, contrary to the popular notion of teen gamers as geeks and loners, gaming is a social exercise for the majority of the players.

speak up

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site.

Subscribe to these comments.

*Required Fields

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.