Video Games Help Make Friends, Engaged Citizens

This one deserves to be shouted from the rooftops:

Far from turning teenagers into anti-social loners, video games help them engage with friends and community, says a report.

The Pew Internet study of US teenagers found that few play alone and most join up with friends when gaming.

It found that many used educational games to learn about world issues and to begin to engage with politics.

The report also found that gaming had become an almost universal pastime among young Americans.

Well, I and the people I know have usually played in groups instead of cooped up in our respective basements, alone and unloved. But there you go. Nice to see the research catching up with reality. Read the original article, or go read the report itself.

It goes on to give some illuminating statistics:

The study found that 52% of the teenagers played games that involved thinking about moral and ethical issues, 43% played games in which they made decisions about how a community, city or nation should be run, and 40% played games where they learned about a social issue.

No way! Games can, like, teach you stuff? Really?

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14 thoughts on “Video Games Help Make Friends, Engaged Citizens

  1. Hmm… well, the flip side of this is “what kind of friends?”

    Xbox live gives you a lot of time with people you don’t know, and I have met and gamed with cool people over the system, but the interaction isn’t the same quality as it is at a LAN, or over a table top. Isn’t yet, anyways.

    It’s also worth noting that of those gamers faced with moral decisions in games, rather a lot choose things like the dark side, or shaping ther sim city in the image of a giant wang.

    …I’m just playing devil’s advocate, though. While we wait for the interface to get closer and closer to face-to-face contact quality, 65% of teens area apparently playing video games with others in the room. Sounds social to me.

  2. If you have a little one into gaming, make sure they are learning social skills in real life, before online. The virtual world may be okay to make friends on once a child has developed sufficient social skills, but if they learn online first you could be compromising their ability to get on in the real world later.

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