Factors associated with young children's home video game habits
Piotrowski, Debra Ann
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This study investigated children's video game habits. Thirty-one Grade 3 and 4 students (Phase I) and 50 Grade 2 students (Phase II) participated. It was found that 58% of students in Phase I and 28% of students in Phase II interact with age inappropriate video games as measured by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). Negative behavior and academic achievement were not found to be significantly related to video game habits. Boys in Phases I and II were found to play ESRB rated age-inappropriate video games significantly ( r = .453, p < .05; r = .586, p < .01) more than girls. Phase I older students played video games significantly (r = .407, p < .05) longer each day than younger students. Phases I and II students who play higher ESRB rated games had a significantly ( r = -.539, p < .01; r = .454, p < .01) greater preference for fighting and shooting video games. Girls in Phase I spent significantly ( r = .377, p < .05) less time playing video games than boys. Phase I girls preferred significantly ( r = .411, p < .05) more educational video games than boys. Phase II boys significantly ( r = .586, p < .01) preferred fighting and shooting video games compared to girls. Further, no significant gender differences were found in Phase I for preferences for fighting and shooting video games or in Phase II for time spent each day playing video games. Six parents participated in interviews. Interview analysis suggests that parents appear aware their children play ESRB rated inappropriate video games and actively choose to limit exposure to inappropriate game content. Further, parents struggle with outside influences that they believe limit their ability to control the effects of video games on their children and with understanding the ESRB rating system. Parents further reported Factors Associated with Young Children's Home Video Game Habits xiv that industry practices which use children's movie and television characters to market to children ESRB rated inappropriate video games increase the likelihood that their children interact with these video games. Finally, interview analysis suggests parent video game habits might predict the video game habits of their children.