Despite concerns that video games may draw students away from civic participation, a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that teenagers’ gaming experiences are often social and have earmarks of civic engagement.
The study, released Sept. 16, found that about 97 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 17 play video games. The study looks at a wide spectrum of games played online or on computers, TV-attached consoles, or hand-held devices.
The data came from a national phone survey by Princeton Survey Research Associates of 1,102 youths and their parents or guardians from November 2007 to early February of this year.
Though time and frequency playing video games are not clearly related to most civic outcomes, “some particular qualities of game play have a strong and consistent positive relationship to a range of civic outcomes,” the study found.
Gamers who play video games with others in the room, for example, more often go online to get information about politics, have raised money for charity, say they are committed to civic participation, and have tried to persuade others how to vote in an election, compared with teenagers who play video games without others in the room.
A version of this article appeared in the September 24, 2008 edition of Education Week