Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

Summary: An Oxford University study suggests teen gamers could be less likely to reach higher education. Has gaming shaped your educational future?

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A University of Oxford sociological research study seems to think so, finding those who play computer games are less likely to reach university level education.

A study of 17,000 people followed since they were sixteen years old, found that those who read in their spare time, instead of played computer games, had better success at reaching higher education.

Regular video gamers who have little or no other extracurricular activities were found to have reduced chances of going to university from 24 percent to 19 percent for young males, and from 20 percent to 14 percent for young females.

Teenagers who read a book for pleasure, or visited the theatre, or engaged with at least one arts platform at least once a month, did achieve a higher probability of reaching university.

Simply put, reading books for pleasure instead of playing computer games can raise the probability of going to college.

However, when this study was first conducted back in 1986, video gaming did not even come close to comparing to what it has become since.

One interesting finding showed that regardless of how often a teenager played a computer game, it did not reduce the likelihood that they would be in a managerial or professional position by their mid-30's, however.

Back in the day, even when I was growing up in the late '80's and early '90's, the games may have lacked lustre with poor graphics and mediocre plot lines, but the playability factor meant both my brother and I were playing them for hours on end.

And nowadays, with brain-training games and motion sensitive games consoles like the Wii and Kinect devices, the gaming culture has shifted from an insular, self-serving activity to one where physical interactivity is key.

Reading already has a close association with scholarship, as one would naturally expect. But it is a myth that the Generation Y are reading less than their older Generation X parents. Instead, we are reading more than previously thought.

How do you think gaming has shaped your educational future?

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19 comments
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  • RE: Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

    I'm a gamer, and I'm in uni. Unless I am above the norm, bullshit article is bullshit. :)
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

      @Cylon Centurion 0005 Wait another year... until they teach you that 'anecdote' is not the singular of 'data'.
      Robert Hahn
  • interrupt how you will...

    It sounds like they are saying if you read more you are more likely to go to University... but thats not what the study seems to show. It shows people who aren't quite as smart and have little interest in reading, do not go on to higher education as much. Playing games more than reading or some other activity is just a symptom, not a cause.
    doh123
    • Agreed

      @doh123

      "Simply put, reading books for pleasure instead of playing computer games can raise the probability of going to college."

      Studies like this are frequently taken wrong. It is trying to establish a correlation between games or reading and university attendance. But correlation does not equal causation. If you are smart and well educated you may tend to read more and be more likely to attend a university but the simple act of reading more doesn't necessarily cause you to be more likely to attend a university.
      oncall
    • RE: Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

      @doh123 - agree, especially re: "is just a symptom, not a cause"
      HypnoToad72
  • My kids have a hard ration on screentime

    That includes watching TV, and playing games on Xbox or PC. They can watch or listen while they are doing chores like working in the kitchen or cleaning. Homework on the computer doesn't count. My oldest wanted an iPad but ended up with a Kindle to avoid having to deal with the whole gaming/websurfing quandary.

    I think "gaming" is too broad a category. There are lots of mental and social benefits to gaming if you consider games like chess, puzzles, and information-based games. But if the gaming activity is based on simple repetitiveness or is completely escapist, then I can see it negatively impacting a person's development. And I do believe that many games can impart a false impression of social norms on kids. Otherwise known as "corrupting influences".
    terry flores
    • RE: Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

      @terry flores
      >>And I do believe that many games can impart a false impression of social norms on kids. Otherwise known as "corrupting influences".
      Totally agreed.
      Ram U
    • RE: Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

      @terry flores I disagree completely! Video games, music, and movies are just a convenient scapegoat for parents who fail to parent properly. I have written many research papers on topics such as this. It is people like you that give the Age of Media and its children a bad name. The only way any media becomes a "corrupting influence" as you so lightly put it is if the user/watcher in general is weak minded, with a lack of education, and parents who did nothing to help them develop in an ever changing world.<br><br>I am 24, I have been gaming since I was about 5 with my Sega Master System (Still my favorite console next to Dremcast) and my NES, moving to Genesis, Gameboy, PSX, DC, and PS2. All the while side gaming on my PC since 1996 (Long nights of Diablo and Age of Empires, not too mention Duke Nukem and C&C). I have been an avid Horror Head and Metal Head since I was about 8, which get as much blame as video games for declining or warped youth.<br><br>I have a full time job for the IT Department of a growing bank, with an ASC degree. I did not go to a University because I couldn't afford not because I couldn't get in or didn't want to go.
      Bates_
      • RE: Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

        My good Master@Bates_ <br><br>If you have done some reading, you will know what classic piece of literature I refer to.<br><br>The study does not say that no gamers make it to university. Just that there is a lower probability.<br><br>To me, it is clear that most (not all) computer games are amongst the least productive things that a young person can do with their lives. If we want to assure that Europe and North America continue to shrink into unimportance, we just need to maintain our negligence as to what young people do with their time. The kids in China will be happy to take your jobs. They know the value of a good education. Must we why such a high percentage of places in science and engineering in our universities are filled with asiatic students.
        jorjitop
      • RE: Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

        @Bates_ <br><br>One way parents "fail to parent properly" is in failing to limit the amount of time their kids spend in non-productive activities. Another way they fail is let their kids be exposed to inappropriate materials. I wouldn't allow my kids to be exposed to sex porn, why would I let them indulge in violence porn? I wouldn't let them play games where they pretended to be rapists, why would I let them pretend to be killers instead?
        terry flores
  • Hmmmm, maybe things have changed

    I have been a gamer for 20 years and I have a MSc in software engineering. When I started into it, we were just as likely to program the computer as we were to play a game on it. Atari eff'd us by removing the computer part!
    happyharry_z
  • Sure...

    And people who do crosswords are more likely to score higher on their SAT's than people who watch UFC. What's your point?
    bmonsterman
    • RE: Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

      @bmonsterman Bravo! No blog comment section would be complete without ignorant generalizations like this. And I suppose people who <a href="http://www.180mma.com/">train MMA</a> are less likely to become successful in their careers?
      Andy 23
  • RE: Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

    big joke, not able to apply to enough people to say this is true.
    everyone is different.
    stdo57@...
  • RE: Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

    Who cares. No one.
    james347
    • RE: Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

      @james347 - recently make a new high score in 'Spore', did we?
      HypnoToad72
  • RE: Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

    In my day it was board games and Dungeons & Dragons. Did it spoil my eduction? Yes probably. But I think there have always been such distractions that subvert our efforts.

    I suspect television is worse, because it reduces the attention span of the viewer, even worse now than in days before. I would rather have my kids playing games than watching junk TV.
    A.Sinic
  • Dunno. What's the major(s) being pursued?

    I'd advise against computer science. Why? http://www.infoworld.com/d/adventures-in-it/why-us-it-jobs-arent-coming-back-465

    :(

    So, anybody helping to raise or eliminate H1B caps, don't whine if US interest drops. If you can't live off of the wages, interest drops. "Follow the money". Maybe that's a flawed paradigm, but you can't work for nothing and expect to eat, learn, and grow as workers or people.
    HypnoToad72
  • RE: Are computer gamers less likely to go to university?

    @terry flores Instead of censoring your kids, why not take the time to explain to them why these things are acceptable in the video game world and unacceptable in the real world. Explain to them the difference between real and make believe. If you don't let your kids vent out their frustrations in the virtual world, they may lash out more in the real world, or be a mindless zombie conforming to the will of their parental units.
    Bates_