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While 40% of girls who play with others online play with friends they know only online, 59% of boys say they play with online-only friends, and that number rises to 62% of boys ages 15 to 17.
Boys are substantially more likely than girls to report access to a game console (91%, compared with 70% of girls) and to play games (84% of boys, compared with 59% of girls), a pattern we have seen previously in game device ownership and play.Among teen gamers, 94% of 13- to 14-year-old boys do this, compared with 84% of girls the same age and 64% of girls ages 15 to 17.Advances in networks, as well as console and computer capabilities, mean there are more ways to play with others than there have been in the past.Not only are boys more likely than girls to play games with others over a network, they do so with much greater frequency.While a third (34%) of boys play video games with others over a network daily or almost every day, only 8% of girls do.And still others benefit from the opportunity to take out their frustrations on people they would never interact with again.
As a high school boy told us, “If you, like, have a bad game, instead of throwing your controller, you can just take it out on them.” Networked online gameplay becomes a vehicle for friendship, interaction and trash talk when the players connect with each other by voice as well as through the mechanics of the game.
Fully 83% of American teens who play games say they play video games with others in the same room, with 91% of boys and 72% of girls doing so. Drilling down, 16% of boys play games this way every day or almost every day, compared with just 5% of girls.
A third (35%) of boys say they play together with others on a weekly basis, compared with 15% of girls who report in-person group play this often.
Just over half of teens who play with others online say they play with people they don’t consider friends.
Similar to the percentage with online-only gameplay friends, 57% of boys and 40% of girls say they play games with people they do not consider their friends.
One high schooler told us, “I play with everyone,” while another explained, “I play with friends and then I meet new people through those friends.” A third high school boy told us, “I usually play on the internet …