Linking video game usage to academic performance By Jack Powers, Henry Bakker and Lloyd Cabilan Aim To determine if video games have an effect on academic performance and results. Hypothesis Those who spend more time playing violent video games will have a decreased academic performance. This is because they sacrifice studying or homework time simply to play video games. We also believe that people who play ‘thinking’ video games and those who play no video games would have better results than the violent video game players. How? ? We surveyed 30 Year 8 students, 3 groups of 10, while trying to have each group consist of both female and male students. The groups we surveyed were made up of violent video game players, ‘thinking’ video game players and non-video game players. Results- Violent Video Games Gender Time Spent per Week (Hours) Most Played Game Recent Grades in Math and English Male 6 Call of Duty B B Male 7 Call of Duty B B Male 7 Call of Duty C B Male 8 Call of Duty B B Male 9 Call of Duty B B Male 10 Call of Duty B B Male 10 Metro C D Male 15 Crysis C B Male 29 Runescape A B Male 50 Call of Duty D D Results- Thinking Video Games Gender Time Spent per Week (Hours) Most Played Game Recent Grades in Math and English Male 1 NBA 2K13 A C Female 1 Sudoku B B Male 3 Minecraft C B Male 4 Minecraft B C Male 6 Minecraft C B Female 6 Minecraft C B Female 9 Minecraft B C Female 24 Minecraft D C Male 24 NBA 2K13 B B Male 30 Fifa 12 C B Results- No Video Games Gender Recent Grades in Math and English Female B B Female B B Female C B Female B B Female B B Female A A Male B C Male B D Female B B Female C C Results From the ‘violent video games’ category, we found an average of a B- in Maths, and again a B- in English. Then from the ‘thinking video games’ category, we found an average of C for both Maths and English. The average mark for the ‘No video games’ was a B for both Maths and English Table 1: Average Number of Hours per Week Spent Playing Video Games 16 14 12 Hours 10 8 6 4 2 0 Violent Games Thinking Games Game Type Discussion We found during this investigation that our hypothesis wasn’t entirely correct. We predicted that the more time you play violent video games, the worse your results became. This was proven wrong in our investigation. The results show that there was no significant difference in the grades of the three groups. Most people in the violent video games group got relatively good grades with them being mostly B’s. However, this data proved inconsistent when compared to the people who didn’t play video games Surprisingly, the ‘thinking’ video games group achieved the worst mark being a C. This is inconsistent with our Hypothesis. Discussion Continued During this investigation, we were not able to actually find any females in Grade 8 students who played violent video games, and then, in the no video games section, we found it difficult to find any males. One possibility for this is because of the lack of video games in general that have a female protagonist. Most of the best selling video games all have male protagonists. Games like Call of Duty and Battlefield are targeted at men, therefore making them pretty much male-centred. We think that games that feature a female protagonist (like Tomb Raider) would have a wider female audience. Another point that may turn females off any game may be the presence of violence, but this is a generalisation. Discussion Continued (2) Analysing our results, one thing that we found interesting were the grades below a C in the groups that we thought would have achieved higher. In the Violent Video game group, we found that 20% of people had a grade below average (below C). In the ‘Thinking’ video game group, 10% of people achieved a grade below average. In the No video games group, 10% of people achieved a grade below average- the same as the thinking video game group. As said previously, there was no significant difference in the grades but the fact that no video game group and thinking video games got the same poses the question- do the thinking video games help in academic performance? Discussion Continued (3) Another interesting point is that when you compare the violent video game time to the thinking video game times, the results show that the violent video game players generally spend more time playing. People who play Violent Games spend on average of 15.1 hours per week playing compared to thinking gamers who spend 10.8 hours per week playing(Table 1). With more research, this might prove that violent games are more addictive than thinking/regular games. Improvements One question that arose as we neared the completion of this task was-does the fact that it is a violent video game matter? Whether a person plays violent video games could be a variable in a behavioural study, but not in a statistical one. What we should have been looking at is a wider range of video game players in general-both violent and thinking games all in one group, plus all other genres of video games and then comparing the time to the grade. Another thing we could have improved was the survey. Did we actually need to know what video game they played? This data did not play any role in this investigation. What we should have done was to just record the amount of time playing a video game and the grade to make the surveying quicker and more effective. Conclusion In this investigation, we compared the time a person plays video games to their grade. We then analysed this data and drew conclusions on what this data means. Our hypothesis was proven wrong in our investigation. There was not much of a difference between the grades of the three groups and then the group we thought would be the worst, ended up being with better results. This study shows that the people who played violent video games still managed to succeed academically but played longer on average than the thinking games group. This could be a marketing point to game developers. If these types of games have no effect or increase academic performance, then it would be seen that violent video games increase the students academic knowledge. Further valid research would be to compare the effects of time spent playing computer games against academic performance.