Teens, Games and CivicsAmanda LenhartGames, Learning and LibrariesNovember 2, 2008Oak Brook, IL
Road Map • Methods • Main Findings • Basics about game play • Gaming as a social experience • Parents and games • Games and civics • Takeaways
Research Questions • What are the game playing habits of American youth? • Who plays video games? • What do they play? • What experiences do they have while playing? • If we care about young people we must ask how games are impacting their lives • Do games isolate young people? • Are games creating a generation of civically disengaged youth? • Can games provide civic learning opportunities?
Methods • RDD national telephone survey • 1,102 youth ages 12-17 and a parent in their home • Margin of error +/- 3 percentage points • Survey conducted November 1, 2007 – February 5, 2008
Major Finding: Nearly all teens play games. • 97% of teens say they have played video games • 50% played a game “yesterday.” • 86% play on consoles. • 73% play on computers. • 60% play on portable devices. • 48% play on a cell phone. Creative Commons License, Flickr user fille_de_photo
Who plays games? • 99% of boys, 94% of girls • Boys play more often and for longer duration • 39% of boys play daily; 22% of girls do • 34% of boys play 2+ hours a day; 18% of girls do • Younger teens play more frequently than older • 54% of 12-14 year-olds play on any given day • 46% of 15-17 year-olds • Broadband users play more frequently • 28% of bbd users played “yesterday” • 20% of dial up users did so
The Daily Gamer • 31% of teens play daily • More boys than girls (65% boys; 35% girls) • More younger teens (57% 12-14; 43% 15-17) • More likely to use portable gaming devices… • …But just as likely as everyone else to use computer, console or cell phone • Daily gamers more likely to play with others online (20% vs. 12%) • Daily gamers are more likely to play games as a part of a guild or group (50% vs. 38%) • Just as likely to spend time f2f and communicating with friends
Major Finding: Teens play a wide variety of games • 80% of teens play five or more different game genres, and 40% play eight or more types of games. • Girls play an average of 6 different game genres; boys average 8 different types.
Game Genres We asked about 14 different game genres • 74% play racing games (NASCAR, Mario Kart) • 72% play puzzle games (Tetris, Solitaire, Bejeweled) • 68% play sports games (Madden, FiFA, Tony Hawk) • 67% play action games (GTA, Devil May Cry, Ratchet & Clank) • 66% play adventure games (Legend of Zelda, Tomb Raider) • 61% play rhythm games (Guitar Hero, DDR) • 59% play strategy games (Civilization, StarCraft) • 49% play simulations (The Sims, Rollercoaster Tycoon) • More….
Game Genres, Cont. • 49% play fighting games (Super Smash Bros, Tekken, Mortal Kombat) • 47% play first person shooters (Halo, Counter-Strike, Half-Life) • 36% play role playing games (Final Fantasy, Knights of the Old Republic) • 32% play survival horror games (Resident Evil, Silent Hill) • 21% play MMOGs • 10% use virtual worlds
MMOGs and Virtual Worlds • 20% of teens use MMOGs • 30% of boys have played them; 11% of girls • 10% of teens use virtual worlds • Boys just as likely as girls • Younger teens more likely than older teens: 13% of 12-14 year olds; 8% of 15-17 year olds. • Daily gamers more likely to play MMOGs and in Virtual worlds Image courtesy of rosefirerising via flickr under creative commons
Games, Genre & Gender • Boys play a greater number of genres of games • Boys average 8 genres, girls 6 genres • Girls top 5 genres: Puzzle, Racing, Rhythm, Adventure, Sports/Strategy • Boys top 5 genres: Action, Sports, Racing, Adventure, FPS • Genres with equal levels of popularity between boys and girls: Racing games, Rhythm games, Simulations and Virtual worlds. • Daily gamers play a similar range of genres as boys.
The industry rating system doesn’t always work • 32% of gaming teens report that at least one of their three favorite games is rated Mature or Adults Only. • 79% of M- and AO-rated game players are boys, and 21% are girls. • 12- to 14-year-olds are equally as likely to play M- or AO-rated games as their 15- to 17-year-old counterparts.
Major Finding: Teens encounter both pro-social and anti-social behavior while gaming • 78% of teens who play games report they frequently or sometimes see other players being kind and helpful to those who are gaming • 63% report seeing or hearing “people being mean and overly aggressive while playing” • 49% report seeing or hearing “people being hateful, racist, or sexist” while playing ------------ • Three quarters of teens who see uncivil behavior regularly see others respond.
Major Finding:Teen gaming is social. • 76% play games with others at least some of the time. • 65% play with other people in the room with them. • 27% play with others through the Internet. • 82% play games alone. Creative Commons License, Flickr user tracer.ca
Games are social (2) • 59% of games play in multiple ways • 42% most often play with friends in person • 15% most often play with friends online • 42% most often play alone • Dial up users less likely to play with friends online (6% vs. 19% of bbd users)
Games are social (3) • 47% of online gamers play mostly with people they know from their community & offline friends • 27% of online gamers only play with people they met online • 23% of online gamers play with a mix of people they met online and people they met offline • Online gamers are more likely to play in groups – 43% game in a group or guild • Girls are more likely to play exclusively with people they know from their offline lives. • MMOG players much more likely to play with others they met online, and play in groups.
Major Finding: Parental monitoring of game play varies. • 55% of parents say they “always” check a game’s rating before letting their kids play it. • Parents are more likely to monitor game play for boys and younger children. • Parental monitoring does not reduce M/AO rated game play or witnessing of anti-social behavior in games. Creative Commons License, Flickr user Reggie fun. Octoer≈10, 2008
Parental monitoring of game playing varies (2) • 90% of parents say they always or sometimes know what games their children play. • 72% say they always or sometimes check the ratings before their children are allowed to play a game. • 46% of parents say they always or sometimes stop their kids from playing a game. • 31% of parents say they always or sometimes play games with their children.
Parental views on the impact of games • 62% of parents of gamers say video games have no effect on their child one way or the other. • 19% of parents of gamers say video games have a positive influence on their child. • 13% of parents of gamers say video games have a negative influence on their child. • 5% of parents of gamers say gaming has some negative influence/some positive influence, but it depends on the game.
Civics – Why is this important? The qualifications of self-governance are not innate. They are the result of habit and long training. -- Thomas Jefferson
Civics – Why is this important? Many students lack basic civic knowledge… • 50% could not identify the correct function of the Supreme Court • 33% could not identify either of California’s U.S. Senators from among a list of options (Kahne et al) And among adults… • 38% of adults could name the three branches of government • 59% could name the three Stooges
What works? • Instruction in Government, History, Econ… • Discussions of Current Events • Service Learning • Extracurricular Activities • Student Voice in Schools and Classrooms • Simulations • 36% reported never participating in a role-play or simulation while in high school
Civic Gaming Experiences Playing games where you: • Help or guide other players • Think about moral ethical issues • Learn about a problem in society • Learn about social issues • Help make decisions about how a community, city or nation should be run • Organize or manage game groups or guilds
Civilization IV Image courtesy of graye via flickr under creative commons
Major Finding: civic gaming experiences do relate to civic engagement • The overall frequency of game play is not related to civic and social isolation. • But having frequent civic gaming experiences is related to greater levels of civic engagement.
Major Finding:More civic gaming experiences = more civic engagement. * Indicates statistically significant difference when compared with the percent of teens with the fewest civic gaming experiences.
Major Finding:Social game play correlates with civic engagement. • Teens who play games with others in the room exhibit more civic participation. They are more likely to: • Go online to get information about politics • Raise money for charity • Be committed to civic participation • Try to persuade others how to vote in an election Creative Commons License, Flickr user sean dreillinger
Major Finding:Social interaction related to games increases engagement. Game players who post to gaming websites or discussion boards are more likely to report they: • Are committed to civic participation • Go online to get information about politics or current events • Have raised money for charity • Stay informed about current events • Are interested in politics • Have tried to persuade others how to vote in an election • Have attended a march or protest.
Major Finding:Civic Gaming experiences more equitably distributed • Unlike civic experiences in classrooms, which are more likely to be experienced by white, affluent teens… • …civic gaming experiences are equally distributed among different groups – race/ethnicity, SES, location • Except gender – girls are less likely to have civic gaming experiences than boys, even controlling for their lower frequency of game play. • 34% of teens have played a video/computer/console game for school or a classroom assignment
Other ways to think about games and learning • Not just about game play, but about using games as an engine of creativity, narrative • Modding • Machinima (Machinima = Machine + Cinema) • 37% of teens have used cheats or game hacks • 28% of teens have used mods to alter a game • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1pnYeJgrsc
Takeaways • Gaming is nearly universal among teens • Teens play a wide variety of games that offer many different types of experiences • Games are a social space for teens • There are genres of games that are more broadly popular than others, some of which lend themselves to group play. • Games offer promise for civic teaching and learning • Playing games with certain mechanics and civic opportunities relates to a greater involvement and engagement with community and politics • Playing games in certain ways (with others, in person) and being engaged in materials and discussion about games also relates to greater levels of civic engagement • CAVEAT: Findings Not Causal
Amanda Lenhart Pew Internet & American Life Project firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.pewinternet.org Full Report @ http://www.pewinternet.org Civics White Paper @ http://www.civicsurvey.org/