A new survey intended to compare videogame play patterns of young adolescents, including factors correlated with playing violent videogames, indicates that children aged 12-14 years do in fact like M-rated games.
While the ESRB‘s M (mature) rating indicates a game is suitable for people 17 years of age or older, 67.9 percent of the boys and 29.2 percent of the girls who claimed to frequently play videogames said they played at least one M-rated game regularly. One third of the boys in the survey and 10.7 percent of the girls said they played videogames nearly every day, but only one in 20 often or always plays with a parent.
According to the survey, playing M-rated games is correlated with “being male, frequent game play, playing with strangers over the Internet, having a game system and computer in one’s bedroom, and using games to manage anger.” Grand Theft Auto and Halo were in the top three games most played by boys, while Grand Theft Auto was the second-most played game among girls.
Data for the survey was collected in November and December of 2004, from two “demographically diverse” schools in Pennsylvania and South Carolina. As well as determining patterns of M-rated gameplay among young adolescents, the final report also discusses implications for identifying atypical and potentially harmful patterns of electronic game use, as well as the need for greater media literacy among parents.