New Pew Internet and American Life study on college student gamers finds some surprises:
- While the last few years have seen tremendous growth in gaming, for one segment of the population, college students, gaming is virtually a commonplace. Computer, video and online games are woven into the fabric of everyday life for college students. And, they are more of a social/socializing activity than most suspected.
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.
Nearly two-thirds (60%) of students surveyed agreed that gaming, either moderately or strongly, helped them spend time when friends were not available.
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.