Prepare yourselves folks. According to a study published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, kids between the ages of ten and nineteen — are you sitting down? — play video games (gasp!). I know, I know, you’re probably stunned speechless right now. Sit down and take a few minutes to collect yourself. Better? Good. Let’s continue.
It turns out that video games are quite popular among young boys, and even girls too. Out of a sample of almost 1500 ten- to nineteen-year-olds:
A total of 534 teens (36%) played video games. Most of these (425 [80%]) were boys and 109 (20%) were girls. “Female gamers spent an average of 44 minutes playing on the weekdays and one hour and four minutes playing on the weekends,” the authors write. “Male gamers spent an average of 58 minutes playing on the weekdays and one hour and 37 minutes playing on the weekends.”
My initial reaction to this data was “Wow, I can’t believe they wasted all that time and money to figure out something any gamer could have told you in about thirteen seconds.”
After my inner cynic was satisfied, my silver-lining gnome came out and said “But wait! Isn’t it an important sign that the habits of gamers are starting to be taken seriously? It’s a good thing when the scientific community acknowledges our burgeoning new art form and gives it the stringent scientific inquiry it so richly deserves! I’m a happy gnome!” My silver-lining gnome went to pick daisies in a field draped in rainbow, and all was good with the world. Then I caught this little tid-bit:
“The rapid growth of video game popularity has generated concern among practitioners, parents, scholars and politicians,” according to background information in the article. “Particularly during adolescence, when social interactions and academic success lay the groundwork for health in adulthood, there is concern that video games will interfere with the development of skills needed to make a successful transition to adulthood.”
At this point my inner cynic came raging out of his cave bearing an assault rifle and gunned down my silver-lining gnome. Savvy consumers will quickly recognize this rhetoric for what it really is—a basis for demonizing video games and making it harder to create, sell, or buy them.
Mark my words, this will be the study that some crusading senator will cite when they introduce a bill that makes it illegal to play video games until you’re twenty one. After all, what better way to ensure that today’s young people can make the “successful transition to adulthood,” a feat not too many of the adults I konw have accomplished. Be warned opponents of the video game!
My inner cynic is on to you, and he’s just eaten my silver-lining gnome’s liver.