The Pew Internet and American Life Project have put together a survey report called Teens, Video Games and Civics.

Download the pdf here.


Apparently it was a project inspired by the idea that kids are spending time on video games to the point that they spend less time on civic-minded tasks such as understanding or becoming active in politics than they once did. However, more than this, it is a very good compilation of statistics of game play behavior in general for today’s teens.

There are many quotes I could put here, but I’ll select just a few (page numbers reference the page of the downloaded pdf itself, not the paper):


“First, it looks at the quantity of game play. Political scientists have raised the concern that technology and other forms of entertainment are replacing time people used to spend involved in community activity … Second, the survey explores the civic characteristics of game play by looking at the qualities of these experiences … Third, the project looks at the social context of game play. Political scientists and sociologists have found that social interaction around shared interests can build social networks and social skills that foster civic and political engagement.” p17-18

“Video gaming is so widespread among American teenagers that to paint a portrait of a typical teen gamer is to hold a mirror to the population of teens as whole.” p20

“Fully 97% of teens ages 12-17 play computer, web, portable, or console games … 50% of teens played games ‘yesterday’.” p2

“Just one-quarter (24%) of teens only play games alone, and the remaining three-quarters of teens play games with others at least some of the time.” p4

“The stereotype that only boys play video games is far from true in 2008, as girls constitute a large (if not equal) percentage of total gamers: 99% of boys play games, as do 94% of girls. While almost all girls as well as almost all boys play video games, boys typically play games with greater frequency and duration than girls.” p21

“Close to half of teens (47%) say they play games online with people
they know from their community or with distant friends and family.” p40