The BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) has a large report out from a recent study of gamers of all ages, and parents of younger gamers. Obtainable here.
As per usual, its really too long for me to read through it all at the moment (this is the first post I’ve managed in a fortnight!), but I did see a couple of amusing quotes. In fact there are a ton of them, but the following is from the very small section on ‘Skills and Education’ (pages 49-51):
Younger players quite often argue, not always very convincingly, that they learn useful things from games.
“You do get a lot of knowledge from it, because, like on Moonscape, it tells you how to do things, how to fish, in real life, how to make certain things. It tells you how to make steel, and cakes and how to mine. You wouldn’t want to go mining for clay or anything, but it tells you how to make stuff.”
PD11 M 14-15 C2DE intermediate Leeds
(I think that the game the boy is referring to is Runescape – where steel is made by getting a lump of iron and two lumps of coal and putting them in a furnace together by mouse click. And level 30 smithing skill, of course.) The report goes on to say this about games and skills:
However, references to skill development, and to educational value, often seem a little desperate; in the interview situation some players want to make the case but often seem not to really believe it themselves. They play games for diversion and enjoyment and not at all with the idea of learning things or getting better at anything other than the game itself. It is worth noting however that non-gamers, notably parents, are often deterred from playing because they lack the necessary skills. …discovering that your level of skill is hopelessly inferior to that of your offspring certainly discourages many parents.
It’s not a scaremongering report, certainly the UK games press hasn’t become defensive about its contents, but does include sections on the concerns of gamers and parents. Well worth a scan at any rate.