A new national survey finds that virtually all American teens play computer, console, or mobile phone games and that the gaming experience is rich and varied, with significant social interaction and potential for civic engagement. The MacArthur-supported survey was conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. According to the poll, gaming is not just an entertaining diversion for many teens but can be tied to civic and political engagement. More than three-quarters of youth report helping others while gaming and 44% report playing games where they learn about a problem in society. Youth who have these kinds of civic gaming experiences are more likely to be civically engaged in the offline world. They are more likely than others to go online to get information about current events, try to persuade others how to vote in an election, say they are committed to civic participation, and raise money for charity. MacArthur's $50 million digital media and learning initiative seeks to help determine how digital media are changing how young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life.
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