5 Things We Should Take From New Research on Teens and Gaming

This week, Tablets for Schools published leading research into young people’s attitude towards gaming, and the results are very interesting.

Amongst the commonly recognised notion that young people are using technology more than ever as staple devices become cheaper and cheaper, is the perhaps surprising feature that the same teens are far more consciously aware about what they consume and the ways it may affect them. There is an ongoing concern from adults about the impact of gaming on young people’s well-being, but what do the teens themselves think about it all themselves?

In total, 3,557 young people between the ages of 11 and 18 took part, with clear attitude differences emerging between children of different ages.

With Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Minecraft being some of the numberless games on offer this Christmas, it’s a safe bet to suggest that many of our teens will be playing a lot of video games in the coming year.

But what key features can we take away from the research?


  1. The majority of teens are not bothered about young people engaging in underage play

According to the research, 72% stated they were not bothered about young people engaging in underage play. However, when you dig beneath this statistic the responses are far more in-depth and complex than it would originally seem. The most common reason young people gave surrounded a perception that what they played were ‘just games’ and therefore they would not be influenced by the content. This was coupled with a difference in opinion across the age ranges, with children at the younger end of the spectrum being far more concerned about underage game play than their older peers.


  1. More boys than girls feel they play games ‘compulsively’

The research shows that nearly 4 out of 10 young people believe they are sometimes ‘addicted’ to the internet, with this number increasing as children get older. One explanation for this is the growing dependency on friendships that emerge as teens grow older, which undoubtedly increases dependency on social media channels and internet based communication. Snapchat has a majority audience of young people aged 11-18, however it is gaming that captures boy’s attention far more than girls. New developments in gaming mean that teenagers can play video games online, whilst freely communicating with their friends using built-in console technology.


  1. Console games are most popular with boys and mobile games most popular with girls

The vast majority of video games are played at home, with console games topping the list amongst boys. The study shows that ‘Grand Theft Auto’ and ‘Call of Duty’ score very highly amongst boys, with just under half of those surveyed playing these games the most. Girls, on the other hand, prefer ‘Cut the Rope’ and ‘Minecraft’, both of which are largely accessed by mobile. Girls aren’t strangers to console games, however the male dominated audience of first-person shooters like those mentioned above could be one reason behind the reluctance of young female gamers.

  1. It isn’t unusual for young people to feel upset or intimidated by something they’ve experienced online.

Over a quarter of young people said they had seen something which concerned, upset or frightened them online. A sad fact this may seem, especially when girls as young as 11 have been bullied, verbally abused or received rape threats when playing games online. It’s no secret that a person’s age is hidden behind a console, but when the age restriction for such games are 16+, should it be up to parents to make sure their children aren’t exposed to language or behaviour far beyond their maturity levels?


  1. Young people feel that educational games help their learning

Educational games are increasingly used in schools to explore new content or practice new skills. Schools are making new efforts to engage with current teen trends to help motivate children to engage with subject material. Minecraft was seen to be equally popular with boys and girls, with spatial reasoning and creative problem solving being identified as possible learning outcomes. With an increase in 1:1 tablet and BYOD schemes in schools, it seems as though gamification teaching methods will be on the rise in the near future.

To see the full report by Tablets for Schools, click on this link and follow the instructions.

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