Gaming is for everyone; all ages, genders, backgrounds, and skillsets. Video gaming is experiencing exponential growth as it becomes a shared pastime for more folks when in-person activities become untenable. When thinking about rates of play, roughly three-quarters (73%) of youth, which are grades 1st-12th, play video games regularly, and half of them last played earlier in the day.* Tweens (grades 5-8) are the cohort most into gaming, with 82% playing on a regular basis.*
Online gaming allows for socializing with friends far and wide, and many young people today even play with others across the globe. Playing with friends and siblings are the top choices, with half of youth (grades 1-12) usually having either as playmates when they game. While younger kids are more inclined to play with siblings, teens are more likely to play with friends.* Today, it’s popular to play both competitive and collaborative games with others at a separate location by using a discord channel or other chat platforms.
Aside from having fun with their friends and practicing teamwork, gaming allows kids to build strategy skills, have autonomy, and be creative. The most popular games right now are Minecraft, Fortnite, and Roblox, which all have sandbox versions in which young gamers can play around with great flexibility and freedom to explore and design their game environment.* Gaming bells and whistles are ever-advancing; mobile gaming and virtual reality have been available for the last several years. Our favorite new genre includes the games that have been created to treat ADHD.
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Mostly, though, gaming remains purely entertainment. Games have evolved to become platforms for holding online events, creating virtual communities, or engaging with fashion trends. Youth love to watch their favorite gamers stream on Twitch or even share their own gameplay on YouTube. It’s no wonder young people consider a career in gaming or game development. “Gamer” comes in fifth for tweens (grades 5-8) for what they want to be when they grow up, with more youth aspiring to game for a living than to become an actor.** Some kids’ dreams are already coming true, like eight-year-old Joseph Deen, who has signed a contract to play Fortnite professionally.
Want to hear what young people themselves have to say about video games? Watch the video below from our YouthBeat® panelists.
Every month at YouthBeat®, our Say What? Video Journals capture live, in-the-moment reflections on intriguing questions relevant today—no need to wait for the next wave of tracking data. Want to learn more? Reach out to us, and let our YouthBeat team assist your brand!
*Source: YouthBeat® January-June 2021
**Source: YouthBeat® Total Year 2020