Results just released Tuesday from a survey done by the Pew Internet & American Life Project says 97 percent of American kids play video games. The survey was done over the phone over a four month period and was comprised of roughly 1100 kids ages 12 to 17. This only goes to show how important and big a part of our culture games are and also falls into the no shit category of useless information. If you have ever been logged into XBox live or World of Warcraft, you know exactly how many people play games. It's not just kids and it's not just guys playing. The girls and lady's play as well, although they don't usually play the same games. The guys tend to steer towards the first person shooters and sports games, while the girls lean toward the less violent games. While not playing the same games, girls and guys almost all play something. As a side note, I have to say some of the toughest competitors I have played are the female combatants on XBOX Live. Anyway, how this survey is news is way beyond me. Maybe because it's a subject I'm fairly familiar with but I already knew this and so did most of the planet.

The survey also showed that kids get together to play, in the same room not just online. They socialize, talk and frag. It's really no different than when their parents were older and they would go to the playground, hang out, play games and talk smack. The guys would play baseball or basketball, as well as some of the girls and most of the girls would play hopscotch or jump rope, as well as some of the guys. Video games are no different, only the playground has moved and gotten a hell of alot bigger. Then you only had the kids in the neighborhood, now you have the world. Thanks to the Internet and online play, you don't need to be in the same room with someone to beat them. You simply log in and you have thousands of other players to compete with in co op play or against. The games help kids and adults learn how to play as a team and be part of a group. Take away the violence of some of the games and that's what you have. If players do not cooperate, they will lose. Players also have a better crop of competitors online, you can set games against people as bad or good as you, worse or even better to help improve your game. The online services allow for texting, emailing and voice communication between players and members helping to further build the community. By the way, the voice option is the best for the simple fact nothing is better than listening to the groans and moans of the defeated and fallen.

Parents and educators, if you are shocked and agasp at the results of the survey, if you think something should be done about the amount of time kids play games think about this. Almost all of the games contain puzzles of some kind or another. The puzzles all need to be solved before you can go any further in the game. In order to solve the puzzles you have to think. Basically, your kids and the other kids playing the games are learning while they play, the part that you should be happy about is they don't realize it. They don't realize they are building up problem solving skills, math skills and more that will help them not only in the digital world but the real world as well. Not only that, but through being online they build their social skills and learn proper etiquette or netiquette as the case maybe. There are certain things you do not do online and this transfers into the real world as well, somethings are just not acceptable in both. Communities and friendships are built around the world, cultures of all kinds are brought together under one simple ideal, to have fun. Racial, ethnic and religious beliefs have no place in the game world, everyone is more or less equal. Just imagine if the rest of the world followed that example.

So parents, in the immortal words of Pink Floyd, "Leave those Kids Alone". And kids and gamers I'll see you online.

1 comments

  1. Anonymous // September 17, 2008 at 7:30 AM  

    Hey, this was a good one Hans! Never thought of it that way... kids actually learning... good point!