Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Millennials even play games for civic purposes

A major new study by the Pew Research Center with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation contradicts a lot of myths about the type of games Millennials play and the role gaming plays in their lives.
The conventional wisdom, based upon Gen Xers initial gaming activities, believes that teens, particularly boys, play violent games and use that activity to exhibit a great deal of anti-social attitudes. But now that all American teens are Millennials, the generation's group orientation and interest in finding win-win solutions is completely shattering this stereotype. Just as Millennials use the liberating technology of the Internet to actually increase group interaction through social networking, the generation has appropriated gaming technologies to also accomplish their civic oriented agenda.
The Pew study showed that almost all teens play games, both boys and girls and that:
Game playing is social, with most teens playing games with others at least some of the time.
· 82% play games alone at least occasionally, though 71% of this group also plays games with others.
· 65% of gaming teens play with others in the same room.

And their game playing also incorporates many aspects of civic and political life.
· 76% of youth report helping others while gaming.
· 44% report playing games where they learn about a problem in society.

The studies results confirm other observations about the interaction between technology and generations. Technology in and of itself is neutral and valueless. The attitudes and beliefs of the generation using the technology is what determines how the technology will be used and to what ultimate purpose.

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