Traditional and Digital Game Preferences of Children: A CHAID Analysis on Middle School Students

 

The purpose of this study is to determine types of games that middle school students play in their daily lives and analyze the effects of various variables such as gender, available technology, grade in school and parents’ education levels on their game preferences. The sample consisted of a total of 464 grade 5-8 students (212 girls and 252 boys). The study was conducted in Spring 2015 and the data were collected using a two-part survey. The first part of the survey included questions about demographic information and the second part asked students to draw a picture of their favorite games. The results of this study showed that girls mostly preferred to play outdoor games whereas boys mostly preferred to play digital games. Participant students preferred to play games with rules outdoors and symbolic games indoors, and in digital environment, girls preferred to play mini-games whereas boys preferred to play sports games. CHAID analysis was used in determining the relationships between the variables and game preferences. Gender was a prominent factor in identifying the preferences; that is, girls’ game preferences were mainly influenced by having a computer and those of boys were affected by having an available Internet connection. This study also found that parents’ education level is not related to children’s game preferences. At the end of the study, suggestions were made for gamification and digital game design.