According to a nationwide survey, almost every child plays videogames online today.
New research has concluded there isn't just an increase in the amount of young kids playing online games these days, they're nearly all playing them. The results of a survey conducted by M2 Research state that more than 90% of kids between 8-11 years old are getting online to game.
After surveying 5,000 children across the U.S., M2 found that online games "dominate" for both boys and girls 8-11 with 91% of boys and 93% of girls playing online. The kids mentioned Facebook as one of their favorite websites, so social networking games are probably a big part of their gaming habits as they don't have steady sources of income. Free-to-play titles like Club Penguin designed for kids are also likely draws for these tweens, and also the reason for many a crying fit when parents deny their children's requests to buy them coins.
A specific game mentioned in the survey was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare which 36% of male respondents picked as their favorite game. I'm not sure how great it is for teens to grow up playing Modern Warfare in an open online environment, so hopefully parents are really making good use of parental controls. 20% of girls mentioned Mario as their favorite series, a safe offline game where nobody can scream racial epithets at them.
There was no big standout that seemed to be able to keep kids' attention for long periods of time, however. M2 Research Analyst Louise Curcio says: "We have found kids tend to play a wide variety of games, and their favorite games and gaming sites change often. There are opportunities for companies, and we believe the kids market has been overlooked."
To me, the results of this survey notate a huge shift for gaming in society. When I was 8-11, if you weren't lucky enough to have your parents buy you a Super Nintendo or Genesis you were stuck with crossword puzzles and playing in the street because PCs were a little more complicated then. Now, kids have a nearly infinite number of free games to play through the PC, and some of those even allow interaction with other kids in an online world. Thanks to social networking and free-to-play games, we've finally hit that point where it'd be a challenge for a kid to grow up without exposure to a videogame of some sort. When I'm old and gray, it'll make me feel better that the people running the country grew up playing FarmVille.