DIGITAL PLAYGROUND: FRIEND OR FOE TO THE CHILDREN? (survey dataset)

Published: 8 January 2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/4tfx3gp9sr.1
Contributor:
Natasa Krstić

Description

For the central entertainment industry of the 21st century - online gaming, children are undoubtedly the key consumer group. Although research on the impact of the gaming industry on children mainly deals with adverse effects such as addiction, violent content, inappropriate conduct and monetisation of personal data, there are also many positive effects – family fun, virtual socialising, improving cognitive skills and using games as a teaching tool. Therefore, all participants' task in the gaming industry value chain is to maximise the positive and minimise the negative impacts on children. A survey conducted among 893 young gamers in Serbia exposed their habits in consuming online games and indicated whether their rights are protected during the gameplay. The conclusion provides recommendations for key stakeholders in the gaming industry's ecosystem on making the digital playground inclusive, safe, and responsible for respecting children's rights.

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Details of the opinion pool entitled “How do online games affect children and youth in Serbia?” which was active during August 2020 for one month, via an electronic survey on the UNICEF U-Report platform. The survey consisted of 16 questions with predefined single-choice answers, two of which related to the sample. Of the 7,300 registered U-Reporters, 893 decided to take part in the survey, finding themselves close to the topic of gaming. The survey was slightly dominated by girls (52%) and mostly youth aged 15-19 (71%), reflecting the structure of registered U-Reporters. The rest of the survey questions focused on understanding the gaming patterns of youth in Serbia - the age at which they started gaming, the frequency of play, motives and social interactions, and their potential exposure to inappropriate content, unwanted ads and negative gaming experiences. In some findings, the gender difference in the responses between girls and boys was additionally emphasised. Finally, the young survey respondents made recommendations to the gaming industry to make its digital playgrounds relevant, useful and safe for young gamers.