Friendships fostered through online gaming, new research reports

Posted at 8:19 PM, Aug 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-11 07:48:47-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Roger Altizer says the Pew Research Center lent legitimacy to a trend he and his colleagues have watched develop for years.

Altizer is associate director of the Entertainment Arts and Engineering Program at the University of Utah.

"It's the first major national report that reflects stuff that we sort of knew from smaller studies and from industry studies that games bring people together," Altizer said.

The report is called "Teens, Technology, and Friendship," and it compiles data from a national survey of teens aged 13 to 17 and focus groups of teens in the same age group.

According to the report, 67% of teen boys play online with friends every week and in many cases every day.

The report indicates video gaming has become as much about interacting with friends as it is about playing the game itself.

For example, one aspect of the report states 78% of online gamers say that playing with their friends over the Internet makes their relationship closer.

"A lot of people are worried that games make you isolated that you're going to sit in the basement and be all alone, and the reality is that nothing could be further from the truth. Games help children build lasting friendships," Altizer said.