Teens, Video Games, and Civics: Teens’ gaming experiences are diverse and include significant social interaction and civic engagement.


The Pew Internet & American Life Project and the MacArthur Foundation came together on this project in an effort to quantify the youth gaming space
and the civic implications of teen video game play. Civic education scholars from Mills College were brought into the collaboration because of their involvement in similar research on young people and the civic dimensions of digital media use. This survey and report were born from this collaboration.

Video games provide a diverse set of experiences and related activities and are part of the lives of almost all teens in America. To date, most video game research has focused on how games impact academic and social outcomes (particularly aggression). There has also been some exploration of the relationship between games and civic outcomes, but as of yet there has been no large-scale quantitative research. This survey provides the first nationally representative study of teen video game play and of teen video gaming and civic engagement. The survey looks at which teens are playing games, the games and
equipment they are using, the social context of their play, and the role of parents and parental monitoring. Though arguments have been made about the civic potential of video gaming, this is the first large-scale study to examine the relationship between specific gaming experiences and teens’ civic activities and commitments.

Lenhart, A

Pew Internet & American Life Project, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2008/Teens-Video-Games-and-Civics.aspx

Publication Date
Tuesday, September 16, 2008