Gamers are less likely to go to university, but will still be employed

By on April 8, 2011, 3:47 PM
Teenagers who frequently play computer games are less likely to get into university, according to a recent study by Oxford University. Interestingly, the activity does not reduce the likelihood that a 16-year-old would be in a professional or managerial job at 33.

The study found that that reading enhances the likelihood that teenagers will go to study for a degree. After surveying 17,000 people born in 1970, the results showed that 16-year-olds who read books at least once a month were significantly more likely to be in a professional or managerial job at 33 than those who didn't read books at all. While reading helped people into a more prestigious career, it did not bring them a higher salary. In fact, none of the extra-curricular activities at 16 were associated with a greater or lesser income.

Girls had a 39 percent probability of being in a professional or managerial position at 33 if they read at 16, compared to 25 percent if they avoided picking up a book. Boys had a 58 percent chance of being in a good job as an adult if they had read as a teenager, compared to a 48 percent chance if they had not.

Once they started playing computer games regularly, however, the chances of going to university fell from 24 per cent to 19 percent for boys and from 20 percent to 14 percent for girls, assuming they did no other activities. Mark Taylor, of Nuffield College, Oxford carried out the research and suggested that other extra-curricular activities might prove more beneficial than computer games because they were either communal, like playing in an orchestra, or had a direct academic application, like reading. That being said, he acknowledged that the gaming industry has changed significantly over the last 40 years.

Nevertheless, Taylor said that results showed there was "something special" about reading for pleasure. Even after accounting for class, ability, and the type of school a child attended, reading still made a difference. "It's no surprise that kids who went to the theatre when young get better jobs," Taylor said in a statement. "That's because their parents were rich. When you take these things into account, the effect that persists is for reading." Books are cheap for everyone.




User Comments: 20

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Guest said:

if you are talking about US education, this makes sense. high school students that aren't prepared for college or work, but play video games still have qualities employers want: the ability to move on from failure, take risks, and are reward motivated. as for reading, it is more complicated than that. people that consume useful information are more likely to be prone to success. the obvious detractor is over reading appealing texts like fiction and suspense. interesting study.

beast1944 said:

Interesting study indeed, too bad that most of these studies are focused on just one group of youngsters which can be influenced by other reasons.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I dunno. People who played computer games in 1986 were probably miles ahead of the curve already just for owning a computer in those days.

I'd be a lot more interested about people born in 1990, and the effect that computers and the internet have on their lives.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

compared to 25 percent if they never avoided ever picking up a book.

Wait, what?? They had a lower percentage if they always picked up a book at every opportunity to do so?? Huh??

Raswan Raswan said:

wagan8r said:

compared to 25 percent if they never avoided ever picking up a book.

Wait, what?? They had a lower percentage if they always picked up a book at every opportunity to do so?? Huh??

it's clearly a typo

KG363 KG363 said:

One of many typos

Recycle said:

It's not a typo, you're reading it wrong.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

By video games it's probably more true about xbox, ps2 than computer games. I mean console games are simple games, while computers gamers have this techy side from using a computer, modding it, upgrading it, you develop a knowledge through experience that help them later in life. Knowing the inside of a ps2 or xbox didn't help you at all. Actually every person I met who played computer games has a much greater knowledge overall than those who played other forms of games. There the head of the tech world now making more money than most.

Guest said:

Reading is not cheap for everyone, what an ignorant statement. I wonder if Mr. Taylor ever read a book.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Xclusiveitalian said:

By video games it's probably more true about xbox, ps2 than computer games. I mean console games are simple games, while computers gamers have this techy side from using a computer, modding it, upgrading it, you develop a knowledge through experience that help them later in life. Knowing the inside of a ps2 or xbox didn't help you at all. Actually every person I met who played computer games has a much greater knowledge overall than those who played other forms of games. There the head of the tech world now making more money than most.

You don't need to be techy to insert a disk, press okay, install a game and play it. The people you know that can build pc's are a small minority. I bet if I look hard enough I can find 10,000 little girls that play or have played "my little pony," on the pc.

ess333 said:

not to brag but i have been playing games all my life on PC ... i have 2 masters degrees, a professional certification, and web designer ... spent 64 hrs on Dragon Age 2 last week ..update your research Oxford

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

not to brag but i have been playing games all my life on PC ... i have 2 masters degrees, a professional certification, and web designer ... spent 64 hrs on Dragon Age 2 last week ..update your research Oxford

I think educated gamers are still the minority. I have two bachelor degrees, one in biology and another in business administration. I play tons of games just as you may but 95% of my gamer friends are also college educated. Still a small minority.

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

The fun part about this research is on how it doesn't quite apply to me. I got heavy into gaming since 1999, ever since then I took an interest in computing and modding and what not.

Now I'm finishing up a degree in Games graphics and Design at a University... So in that sense, games pushed me into University O_o

fpsgamerJR62 said:

In my case, it's more like the other way around. I've always liked to read and I do have a bachelor's degree in Business Management. However, I never owned a PC until I left my first job at a bank and bought my first PC at the ripe old age of 32. That's when I got into PC gaming and been doing so ever since.

hitech0101 said:

i know a guy once addicted to online gaming now runs a small business says he learned "how to manage the business" by playing the game.

Lionvibez said:

supersmashbrada said:

Xclusiveitalian said:

By video games it's probably more true about xbox, ps2 than computer games. I mean console games are simple games, while computers gamers have this techy side from using a computer, modding it, upgrading it, you develop a knowledge through experience that help them later in life. Knowing the inside of a ps2 or xbox didn't help you at all. Actually every person I met who played computer games has a much greater knowledge overall than those who played other forms of games. There the head of the tech world now making more money than most.

You don't need to be techy to insert a disk, press okay, install a game and play it. The people you know that can build pc's are a small minority. I bet if I look hard enough I can find 10,000 little girls that play or have played "my little pony," on the pc.

I agree with Xclusiveitalian.

I was born in 1980 and we had our first computer in the house when I was around 10 so say 1990 286 12mhz days. So I picked up a dos book read it and started to play around on a computer and that was the start of my career i'm in IT now. It isn't just about inserting a disc and press any key as you say it fed my curiousity and having access to computers at that young of an age helped me alot.

I also owned most of those consoles , turbo graphic 16, nes, Snes, Sega, N64 etc.

For all my friends that owned the same consoles but didn't get the techy side from dealing with computers I was running circles around most of them in terms of knowledge and i'm talking about age 16 so before a post secondary education.

I would consider myself living proof of his statement.

MrAnderson said:

I would say less likely to finish a 4 yr program, and they job thing is on target... they need to pay for the habbit. (BTW I do consider myself a medium gamer... No longer Hardcore I guess because of the time I put in is drastically less. I peaked in University with playing PC games all kinds of hours...)

Guest said:

Some people are going to go to University and some people aren't. Its not really a surprise that the people not going to University are the ones who don't read.

realista69 said:

This Story is kinda true..

I played games since I was 11 and am now 33.

I have never completed college, though I have a professional career in the federal government as a computer tech - which a slightly above average income. More than I ever thought I would be able to earn at age 16.

So I think the article holds true, for me at least.

Guest said:

Two Master's degrees and still you don't understand the meaning of "less likely"?

24% of non-game playing males go to university, but only 19% of game playing males go to university. Therefore it is quite evident that game-playing males do go to university.

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