5 Things You Should Know About Kids And Video Gaming

As the options for playing non-arcade video games have expanded from computer-based to hand-held to Internet and finally cell phone, so has the enthusiasm for such electronic entertainment among U.S. kids ages 6-11.


Within that age group, 86.8% of youths played a video game in the last 30 days via one of the four platforms, according to the most recent data from the "2008 American Kids Study" conducted by Mediamark Research & Intelligence (MRI). Nearly one-third (29.1%) played a video game on a cell phone -- presumably when they weren't texting BFFs.

Based on the results of the in-home survey of approximately 5,000 youths - along with an accompanying survey of primary adult caregivers - five characteristics emerge with regard to kids and video gaming.

1. Frequency of Play Increases With Age
Of the 86.8% of kids who played a video game in the last 30 days, 27.1% played every single day. Boys outnumbered girls in this group, at 35.1% to 18.0%, and the propensity for daily play was the greatest in the 10-11 age break - in fact, children in this age group are 16% more likely to be daily players than gaming children as a whole. Only 15.0% of kids 6-11 played less than once a week.



2. The Need for Speed Trumps Board Games
So what types of games are most popular? Think adventure and speed. At 61.4% of youthful gamers, the action/adventure genre was tops, followed by racing at 46.0%. The next five types in descending order were: sports (34.0%); fighting (31.0%); puzzle/strategy (29.5%); educational (28.8%); and card/board games (24.9%).

3. Deciding What to Play Involves Collaboration
Asked who usually decides what type of game can be played, nearly half (44.4%) of the respondents said it was a collaborative effort between themselves and their parents. This was true of both male and female players and tracked very closely across the 6-7, 8-9 and 10-11 age brackets. Only 21.1% of kids said they got to choose on their own, and 23.0% said their parents had sole responsibility for choice.

4. Collaboration Helps Dictate Game Ratings
As a likely result of the degree of child/parent collaboration on choice, just 9.5% of kids 6-11 said they played games rated Mature 17+. This increased to 16.7% within the 10-11 age grouping. At 14.3%, boys were far more likely to play Mature 17+ games than were girls (3.9%), so perhaps the young ladies were too busy watching reruns of "Sex and the City." But that's just speculation.

5. Word-of-Mouth Referrals Are Key
Asked how they learn about new games to play, 63.5% of respondents cited recommendations from friends and 45.8% from family members. A mere 18.0% discover new games via Internet sites. When it comes to spreading the word themselves, 73.1% said they recommend games to friends, and 56.8% said they tell their own families.

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