Survey finds over 30% of youths frequently or sometimes play online games with strangers

SINGAPORE: More than 30 per cent of youths frequently or sometimes played online games with strangers, according to a survey by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

More than 10 per cent also engaged strangers outside of gaming, potentially exposing these youths to adult predators and online scams, said MCI.

The findings released on Tuesday (Feb 13) came from a door-to-door survey of 810 Singaporean youths, and their parents, from October 2022 to February 2023. Aged 10 to 18, these youths played online or video games at least once a month.   

The survey aimed to understand gaming habits among youths and their parents’ awareness and efforts to manage the impact of gaming on their child’s well-being.

While the majority of respondents (64 per cent) never or rarely played online games with strangers, 36 per cent of them sometimes or frequently did so.

About 14 per cent chatted with strangers about non-gaming related topics, shared personal information with them, or met them in person.

Nearly half of the youths surveyed played games every day, and tended to play for at least two hours in each gaming session.

The survey also found that 17 per cent of youths aged 13 to 18 experienced in-game bullying from other players. Only 8 per cent told their parents what happened, while almost half did not take any action.

In the same age group, about 38 per cent had sometimes or frequently come across vulgarities or violent content in games. Those who played first-person shooter games were “more likely to come across both types of harmful content”.

“While MCI’s survey focused on potential risks and dangers that youths may be exposed to, it did not conclude that online gaming only resulted in negative impacts,” said the ministry in its news release.

“Other studies showed that there were benefits of gaming, such as enhancing perceptual and motor skills, promoting teamwork and prosocial behaviour, and providing platforms to express creativity and imagination.

“MCI’s survey sought to highlight the need to raise parents’ awareness of their child’s gaming activities, and encourage youths to make more informed decisions about their gaming behaviour.”

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