Researchers study videogame use patterns and the differences in gender among adolescents

The study, on over 1,500 youths aged 11 to 19 in the Valencian Community, reveals differences between boys and girls in the time and money invested in videogames, as well as the most used platform and types of videogames.Videogames

Adolescents spend an average 47 minutes a day using videogames, although boys spend more time playing, especially on weekends, and invest more money in this type of entertainment compared to girls, who are mainly occasional players. These are some of the main results of the study on videogame use patterns among teenage boys and girls in the Valencian Community, conducted by Education Science Department professor from the CEU Cardenal Herrera university (CEU UCH) Fernando Gómez Gonzalvo, and professors from Valencia University (UV) Pere Molina and José Devís, which has just been published in the Entertainment Computing international scientific journal.

The global results of this study, conducted on over 1,500 adolescents from 10 school centres of the Valencian Community, reveal that only 3.2% of teens polled do not use videogames, compared to 74.2% who claim to play occasionally, 17.7% who say they use videogames moderately, 3.6% who play frequently, and only 1.4% who do so intensely, considering themselves ‘heavy players’. The average annual amount of money spent on videogames among these adolescents surpasses €73. And the three types of videogames used the most are sports, action and adventure.

Boys, twice as much on weekends

The researchers from the CEU UCH and UV have especially focused on the most relevant differences in the use of videogames among boys and girls. Therefore, for example, the study reveals that 60% of girls are occasional videogame players, whereas 94.3% of boys play them frequently. Another relevant difference is that boys double the time they spend on videogames on weekends, whereas the use increase among girls on weekends is much less significant: they only play 8% more than on weekdays.

Boys also invest more money on videogames than girls: the former spend an average €106 a year, whereas the latter only spend €39. But among youths who play intensely (1.4%), the average expense surpasses €527 a year, an amount which is also greater among boys than girls who consider themselves as ‘heavy gamers’.

Girls, with tablets and mobile phones

The type of device used to play videogames is also different among boys and girls: the former use game consoles and computers more, whereas the latter prefer mobile phones and tablets. The most relevant differences are observed in the case of consoles, which 63.2% of boys use, compared to 36.8% of girls. And also the use of tablets, which 61.4% of girls use, compared to 38.6% of boys. The percentages are closer in the case of computers and mobile phones. As professor Gómez Gonzalvo from the CEU UCH explains, “the greater use of new devices by girls reveals that they have started using videogames later than boys, who continue to use the more traditional gaming platforms: computers and consoles.”

Regarding the type of videogames preferred by each gender, boys tend to make greater use of sports, action, war and strategy games than girls, who prefer educational games. There are no significant gender differences in the case of adventure videogames, those based on tabletop games or videogames based on simulating social interaction.

Furthering sexist stereotypes

The CEU UCH and UV researchers conclude that, as with any social phenomenon, the predominant use of videogames among boys can change in the future. “Videogames have not only become one of the main sources of entertainment, but also an element that builds identity among the youth and provides the feeling of group membership among the millennial generation,” highlights professor Fernando Gómez. Among the conclusions of the study, he also stresses that “the stereotypes on what is masculine and what is feminine are furthered by videogames, by a part of an industry where women still do not have a balanced presence. Stereotypes about women in videogames are used as a sexual call, which can explain the attraction of boys to them and the lack of identification with the game among girls.”

More information on the article “Which are the patterns of video game use in Spanish school adolescents? Gender as a key factor” can be found here:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1875952120300744?dgcid=autor