A researcher at Oxford University has conducted a survey that comes to a conclusion that may agitate gamers. Mark Taylor, who conducted the research for the Department of Sociology, asked 17,200 people who were 16 in 1986 about their level of education, their current career and extra-curricular activities during their teens. Taylor concluded that there was a correlation between gaming and a "decreased likelihood" of going to college. Around 19 percent of male gamers were likely to go to college, compared to 24 percent for those who did not play games. The survey also found that 14 percent of females enjoyed games during their teen years, compared to 20 percent who didn’t play games.
While Taylor believes gaming impacted higher education, it did not appear to impact careers. Thinq, who uncovered the study, asked Taylor if he believed similar findings would be found in studies covering more recent years, since gaming was not as popular or mainstream in 1986 as it is now.
"It’s difficult to say, as we have no data on kids who are growing up now," he said, adding that it would be "completely insane to say that you’re going to see exactly the same results replicated across time," and that he would be "very surprised" to see similar results for modern teenagers. "Not many [people] were playing video games [in 1986]. The picture is completely different nowadays. I wouldn’t like to make that generalisation at all."
Taylor also told Thinq that he considers himself a serious gamer. He plays around 4 hours a week with his college friends and peers.
"Education is not just about piece of paper you get at the end of the exercise. If people get something out of gaming then that’s fantastic. While playing games might not make you any better at your English A Levels, it might make you more interested in programming."
The most important thing Taylor told Thinq is that he is concerned about his findings being taken out of context because he included extra-curricular activities such as movies, going to museums and gaming. The study, he says, represents how all of these activities can affect people’s likelihood of going to college, but that a major finding is that "it doesn’t bear out further on people’s lives," such as what they go on to do in their careers.