Game over?

A new report from the National Children’s Bureau Northern Ireland (NCB NI) has shown a link between gaming and GCSE attainment. The authors found that only two-fifths (41%) of pupils who reported using a portable games player a couple of times a day achieved 5 A*-C grades compared to over three-quarters (77%) of those who reported rarely using one. However, no relationship was observed between social networking and GCSE attainment.

The two-year longitudinal study focused on a cohort of secondary pupils (n=978) from 13 schools in some of the most deprived areas of Northern Ireland. The authors used data from surveys and focus groups, as well as GCSE results, with the aim of gaining a better picture of young people’s access to information technology, as well as their usage, attitudes toward it, and skills levels.

As well as the impact on GCSE results, headline findings included:

  • The vast majority (95%) of young people had access to a computer/laptop at home, but this still left around 1,000 young people without access and potentially at a significant disadvantage.
  • Young people were spending a significant amount of time online each day, with one third spending four hours or more online in Year 1 of the study rising to 40% in Year 2.
  • School staff were particularly concerned about the extent of gaming, reporting a number of issues relating to attendance, punctuality, and motivation. Particular issues were identified in relation to male pupils, with gaming addiction noted in some instances.

These findings reflect another recent report included in Best Evidence in Brief last month.

Source: ICT & Me: A Research Study Examining How Young People’s Use of ICT and the Amount of Screentime Impacts on GCSE Attainment (2015), National Children’s Bureau.

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