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Why are boys so attracted to video games?

  • Content

    One big reason why boys are more attracted to video games than girls is because so many of the available games involved content that is usually considered “masculine.” A huge portion of video game content includes male-dominated sports (e.g., there are way more football games then there are, say, ice-skating games), warfare, racing… the list goes on. These games are filled with masculine stereotypes that emphasize power, strength, competition, action, and sometimes violence.

  • Marketing

    Given the content of many video games, it’s not surprising that a lot of the advertising for video games is aimed right at boys and men alike. Many gaming magazines and television commercials feature more males than females and have layouts and coloring that appeals to guys. This is beginning to change somewhat with the advent and popularity of more gender neutral games, as well as the gradual increase in gaming among girls. Even still, there are far more guys portrayed in most games than girls, and boys can more easily relate to the characters.

  • Learning Styles

    Another reason it is believed that boys are drawn to video games more than girls is because the active, fast-paced nature of game playing fits better with the way boys learn. You may have heard the recent buzz about boys falling behind girls academically when they are in traditional classroom settings. These teaching styles cater more to girls’ “innate” abilities, such as being able to sustain attention longer, stay more organized, and openly discuss what they are learning. More and more studies on learning styles are revealing that boys perform better when they can really get engaged in the task and sometimes when a sense of competition and strength are involved. So, even if your son isn’t necessarily playing an educational game, he may still be getting a sense of pride and mastery over the game that he isn’t getting with his school work.

  • Social Styles

    Another explanation for boys’ attraction to video games is that games allows them to interact with friends (both hanging out in person and playing online together) in a way that comes naturally to them. Think about a common gender difference in girls and boys: if you want to talk to your daughter about a problem she’s having you might just plop down on her bed and have a heart to heart. Any chance of getting the same automatic openness from your son? You are probably more likely to have to ask him to play a card game, or take him out to shoot some hoops before he will open up. This same idea applied to boys and their friends. In general, they have a much easier time getting along and getting close by doing an activity like gaming.

Source: “Resistance through video game play: It’s a boy thing.” Sanford, K., & Madill, L.