More Myths About GamingIn an article on the impact of gaming, Henry Jenkins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Director of Comparative Studies, debunked 8 common myths about video games. (Click the link to read Jenkins’ article on Today, we continue our review of Jenkins’ insights into the impact of video games on children.

Myth #3. Video games are primarily marketed to children.

False. The video game market has aged along with its early players. Today, more than 60% of the gaming market targets adults age 18 and older. However, 25% of children age 11-16 count games rated M, for mature, among their favorites. Parents who either ignore or are unaware of game ratings are usually responsible when children are exposed to adult content.

Myth #4. Girls don’t play video games.

False. While it’s true that boys dominate the gaming field – 90% are gamers – 40% of girls play video games. The past decade has seen an increase in social games targeted to females such as The Sims and Farmville. Jenkins makes the interesting point that even in male-oriented games, female characters are portrayed as independent and powerful, providing an empowering image for young girls.

Myth #5. Military use of shooting games crosses over into popular use, turning gamers aggressive.

False. This has been a hotly debated topic since former military psychologist David Grossman promulgated the theory which Jenkins rejects. Jenkins points out that military use of gaming is part of a specific curriculum with a set of learning goals not shared by the gaming community. He cites research showing that gamers are active problem solvers, using errors as opportunities to find better solutions.

Next time: Selecting video games for children