Momma always told me to get off the dang video game machine and go outside. Well I didn’t. My senior year of high school consisted of not losing my virginity, eating Wendy’s every day, playing video games, and gaining fifty pounds. Thankfully according to studies, future kids are decidedly unlike me.
But are kids really spending all of their time in front of video games? Not really, it turns out. Of the 10 hours per day of media consumption the study found children engaging with daily, barely an hour is filled with games. TV still comes in tops, at well over four hours per day, followed by music and non-gaming uses of computers. Video games, compared to those activities, are a mere blip.
Both handheld and console gaming are up among children 8-18, the report finds, but still remain a small percentage of the average child’s day overall. And while boys and girls are roughly equally likely to take part in handheld gaming, time spent on consoles skews dramatically toward boys, on average.
And what are kids these days spending their scant gaming hours on? 71% have played music games like Guitar Hero or Rock Bandthe report claims, and a further 65% are playing titles appropriate for all ages like theSuper Mario franchise. And yet 25% of the 8-10 year olds in the study report playing a Grand Theft Auto game, and nearly half of all the children surveyed, ages 8-18, had played a Halogame.
In the end, the results paint a mixed picture of the next generation of gamers. Like their parents, they’re engaging everywhere, and the genres we think of as casual and social gaming are beginning to dominate what time they spend in digital play. But for all that children are spending more time with their mobile devices and more time online, it seems “turn off the TV” is still more commonly heard than “turn off that video game” when it comes time for homework or even playing outside.
Good luck getting kids off their media devices. Their internet machines, their telephone devices. A better proposition is how to leverage those diversions into their educational practices.