Research: Less Girl Game Time Down To Multitasking Behavior With Tech

A new survey of boys and girls' technology behaviors suggests that girls spend less time on video games because they are busy multitasking across many activities, while boys spend more time on gaming.
The gender divide in games' audiences is a popular topic, as designers struggle to address the reasons women seem to play completely different kinds of games than men -- at least, if the numerous surveys fronted by casual gaming firms are to be believed. Much debate even surrounds the question of whether men and women have "different brains" or some kind of inherently different taste that helps explain some of the consumer culture differences that appear between the sexes. A research firm called PlayScience has decided to have a look into the issue, looking at the gender divide in kids aged 6 to 14. The group studied 417 of these youngsters using an online survey that asked them about how they use technology and what they want from it. The study found that boys tend to pick video games as their foremost digital activity. Girls, on the other hand, appear more interested in an array of social uses for technology, the firm says. "Girls tend to be either multitasking or moving quickly between different activities during a single sitting -- chatting, playing a game, downloading music, and sharing pictures all within a short time frame," says PlayScience president Dr. J. Alison Bryant. "Boys, however, tend to prioritize gaming above other activities," she adds. The firm's research says that boys are nearly as socially oriented as girls, and that girls are as likely to play video games on many platforms -- the difference is the amount of time spent and the usage behavior. Girls are much more likely to distribute their time in short bursts across numerous activities, while boys spend more time playing, says PlayScience. "We think that this disconnect speaks to the continued gap in the potential of console platforms, games, and applications in reaching girls," Bryant says. She says firm's primary interest in approaching this kind of research is to help discover methods of "applications and outreach that speak more to these social, multitasking tendencies in girls."

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