After a recent UC study into digital technology and its relationship with Australian teenagers, Dr Karen Macpherson has sent out a press release with results that seemingly contradict the stereotype of the game playing, Facebook-obsessed teenager.
Teenagers were asked about their typical after school activities with computer games only just scraping into the top 10 in 10th place and Facebook ranked ninth. Family time topped the list, with sport, homework, hobbies and odd jobs also in the top 10, compiled as part of a report commissioned by the Australian Computer Society Community Engagement Board.
“We really need to re-think our stereotypes of modern teenagers,” the report’s author, Dr Karen Macpherson from the University of Canberra Education Institute, said.
“No one would argue against the fact that teenagers have welcomed digital technologies into their lives with open arms. But it may be that the popular stereotype of teenagers as being consumed by Facebook and computer games needs some rethinking. Although technology is now woven into their lives, for example on a daily basis almost half of the teenagers surveyed access Facebook, this study suggested that young people today spend most of their time doing what they have done after school for generations: spending time with family; playing sport; doing jobs around the house; and doing homework. And as they get older, casual jobs are also common.”
While I certainly don’t see games as a terrible plague infecting our youth or anything ridiculous like that, I do find myself questioning the accuracy of the results.
They polled teenagers? How many lied? How many consider hanging out with their family while using their phone to check Facebook or play Angry Birds as “spending time with family” instead of “time spent doing those other things?”
A lot of people don’t consider casual games to be the same thing as computer games.
Many people will tell you they don’t play “computer games”, and then turn around to have another go at Bejeweled.
The teenager’s top 10
When asked what they do after school, the most common activities young people undertake on a regular basis (at least several times a week) are:
1. spending time with family (90%)
2. doing homework (82%)
3. watching television (75%)
4. doing jobs around the house (73%)
5. spending time doing a hobby (72%)
6. playing sport (67%)
7. seeing friends (65%)
8. reading (62%)
10. playing computer games (46%)
I guarantee you most people when involved in those top 8 activities, whether they be teeangers or adults, are probably also checking Facebook and getting in a bit of Candy Crush Saga when they can.
How many of you have Candy Crush Saga open in another tab right now? Would you consider this “computer game” time?
The full report is available here, and covers a much broader range of subjects than the press release does. Check it out if you’re interested.