For today’s “So there!” moment, however, the Pew Internet Project has released a report on “Gaming technology and entertainment among college students” that concludes that computer, video and online games “are more of a social/socializing activity [for college students] than most suspected,” rather than an isolating “geeky” behavior. Some key findings included:
- All of those surveyed reported to have played a video, computer or online game at one time or another. Seventy percent (70%) of college students reported playing video, computer or online games at least once in a while. Some 65% of college students reported being regular or occasional game players.
- Students cited gaming as a way to spend more time with friends. One out of every five (20%) gaming students felt moderately or strongly that gaming helped them make new friends as well as improve existing friendships.
- Gaming also appears to play a surrogate role for some gamers when friends are unavailable. Nearly two-thirds (60%) of students surveyed agreed that gaming, either moderately or strongly, helped them spend time when friends were not available.
- Two-thirds of respondents (65%) said gaming has little to no influence in taking away time they might spend with friends and family.
- Students integrate gaming into their day, taking time between classes to play a game, play a game while visiting with friends or instant messaging, or play games as a brief distraction from writing papers or doing other work.
- Gaming is integrated into leisure time and placed alongside other entertainment forms in their residence, and that it forms part of a larger multitasking setting in which college students play games, listen to music and interact with others in the room.
- Most college student gamers seem to associate positive feelings with gaming, such as “pleasant” (36%), “exciting” (34%), and “challenging” (45%). Fewer students reported feeling frustrated (12%), bored (11%), or stressed (6%) by gaming.
- Close to half (48%) of college student gamers agreed that gaming keeps them from studying “some” or “a lot.” In addition, about one in ten (9%) admitted that their main motivation for playing games was to avoid studying.
- College student gamers’ reported hours studying per week match up closely with those reported by college students in general, with about two-thirds (62%) reporting that they study for classes no more than 7 hours per week, and 15% reported studying 12 or more hours per week.
- One third (32%) of students surveyed admitted playing games that were not part of the instructional activities during classes.
So, I’m not necessarily an antisocial loser-geek. Well, at least not just because I play computer and online games.