Surveying video game use in the “Periphery”

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The paper outlines some of the aspects of living in the periphery (the north and west edge of Europe). It describes responses, especially those given by the children and their parents, to a survey on video gaming and other digital media use. The paper concludes with a more detailed analysis, and descriptions of areas of future research.

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Surveying video game use in the “Periphery”

  1. 1. Surveying video game use in the “Periphery” Abstract The ongoing research introduced in this paper aims ultimately to answer the question: ‘ls video gameplay and digital media use in nietropolises such as london. New York and Los Mgeles significantly different from that of remote. dispersed and fragmented communities such as the Lofoten. Aland and Shetland lslands'. "' To provide useful data for analysis. video game players in one such community (the island of Berncray in the (hrter Hebrides offthe west coast of Scotlandt. were interviewed. Mist ofthe active game players were schoolchildren; due to the mass of data. and the potential for comparison with national and international surveys. this paper focuses mostly on this subset of the Berneray video game playing community. The paper outlines some of the aspects of living in the Periphery. and then describes the survey and the responses. especially those given by the children and their parents. The paper concludes with a more detailed analysis. and descriptions of areas of future research. Berneray and the “Periphery" lkrneray III is an Otter llebridean [2] island off the west coast of Scotland with a permanent resident population of I30. The main industries are fishing. crafting (small-scale farming) and tourism: the first language of most people is Gaelic. The weather alternates between periods of much daylight and often good weather [April to amber). and spells of little daylight and often continuous bad weather (hbvember to Mrch). Dy Ulistandards. house prices are low, as are levels of traffic, crime and pollution; most people haw a comfortable lifestyle with utilities tfuel. water. power. and communications) comparable to those of mainland UK residents. There is currently one shop on Bernerny. though that is expected to close later this year. The nearest major city is either a day‘s ferry-and-drive. or an hour's night from an airport 30 miles away. The Outer l-bbrides themselves are an archipelago I-10 miles in length. but with a total population of only 26.0(X). Of these. a third live in one town (Stornoway). while the rest are distributed across small and tiny communities. ’ITiese islands have historical. social and economic distinctions from mainland Scotland. For example. a large component of the ancestral and genetic construct is shared with Scandinavia due to the islands being under Viking control for several centuries. This is still evidenced in several ways. such as localised accents (especially in Lewis) being similar to those of coastal Norway. and many of the place names being obviously Mirse. The name "lierneray“ itself is similar to “l! jornuya" I3]. the Norwegian island in the Arctic ocean. I-lehridean islands such as Berneray have many so-tin-economic similarities to rural and island communities across the “Northern Periphery" [4]. an area of islands and larger land masses bordered by the Scottish Hebrides. Greenland. Svalbard and Finland. In Norway I5]. Sweden and lknmarlt. 6D%of people live in settlements of 40.000 inhabitants or less. These countries have numerous populated islands of varying sizes. fragmenting the population further. and are also characterised by low average population densities; in the ranking of 231 countries [6]. Sweden. Finland. Iceland. Norway and Greenland are all in the bottom (least dense) 20%
  2. 2. However. populations in northern America and industrialised Wkslem Etrope tend more towards urban. metropolitan areas. For example, in the UK most people live in cities with populations exceeding 100.000 [7]. The number of published surveys of digital culture and gameplay use is not large I8]. with fewer still focusing on children. and most are from these highly populated countries [9] [I0] [ l l]. with samplings usually taken from large city populations. Therefore. these studies may not be comparable to. or representative of. the nature of game use and digital culture in regions of the Periphery. The island of lierneray (discussed below) is a case in point; nearly every schoolchild owns at least one platform from the current or previous gaming console generation. kguably. there are potentially many gameplayers in rural. isolated communities within the Periphery. but are their gameplaying habits and surrounding digital media culture different from those of gamcplayers in urban. westernised communities? Data collection and initial analysis in Pbvember and Dcemher 2006. residents of Berneray identified as video game players were interviewed about their gameplay and use of other digital entertainment media e. g. buds. DVDL. online chat and social networking. The survey began to address three themes or questions: 1. Is engagement in digital entertainment media. including the playing of video games, greater or less on Berneray than in mainland UK? 2. I1) environmental factors specific to the (hater lhbtides. such as the long dark winters. inclement weather or lack of outdoor facilities affect how much time is spent playing video games? as D) socio-economic factors. such as the small and sparse population or the average household income. affect access to video games? Amixture nfqualitative and quantitative data was obtained front each game player. Otlld interviewees’ parents were also interviewed to provide validatory data on factors such as gameplay and Internet access. and funding of consoles. Game players were interviewed individually. the questions falling into four categories based on a recent Finnish study [I2] on the social significance of games: Consumption of time in games Investment of money in games Attitudes surrounding games and playing The actual practices [especially other digital media) around games in people's limes. . "': "."-'. " Some residents were interviewed at second time. afler Gtristmas 2006. as they had received consoles as Christmas presents and therefore their gameplay behaviour had changed. it addition. some residents were also re-interviewed with follow-up questions. as the survey revealed aspects of digital entertainment culture not considered during the initial questionnaire design. interviewees
  3. 3. Residents who played video games fell into three categories: I. I2 children under the age of IS who played video games on a regular or frequent basis. 2. 5 resident adults who played video games on a regular or frequent basis. 3. 5 resident adults who played video games infrequently ie less than once a week. and often for over a month at a time with no gameplay. G the remaining I08 permanent residents. there may well be others who play video games. on either a console or a PC. These would include people who were not aware of the survey. and those who did not wish to admit to playing games or participate in the study. The decision was taken early on to focus primarily on the children game players. This was because: I There is more comparable data and surveys for child video game players worldwide than there are for adult video game players. 0 It was evident that most of the children were video game players, whereas most ofthe adults were not. This could lead to additional infomtation from the former set on aspects of multi-person gameplay 0 While the concept of Digital Natives (where younger people are all digital-aware but older people have no digital use) has recently been widely criticised. it is likely that younger people would have a more diverse array of digital activities than older people. Children game players [kmographics The demographics ofthe Otter Hebrides and especially those of younger residents are discussed frequently in the region. This is because of the perceived fragility of the population in terms of island "immigration and emigration". falling school rolls and long-term population trends within the various islands. On Berneray. as with other islands of the (later I-bbrides. this situation is of some concern. This chart. at the time ofthis research. shows the age distribution of permanent resident children:
  4. 4. Ana oraarnonry ciiiimn ‘I234 5678 9101l121314l5‘l81719 M0 hi can be seen. most ot the schoolchildren are within a few years ot leaving secondary school. with far fewer locally ‘coming through” to talte their place. The l2 schoolchildren surveyed were in the age range 9 to I6 as in the graph above; one of the 14 year oldit. and those below the age of 9. did not play video games and were therefore not questioned. 11:: I8 year old was classified as an adult for the purpose of this research. Crtiineplny time The I2 children cliiitned tin average of 5.5 hours it weelt spent playing video pines. with it maximum of It hours and at minimum of I. Girls claimed an average of 2.3 hours per week. and boys 7 hours. However. there iii some doubt as to the 3 highest values given by the boys (2. 2. 3. 6. 6. ll. I2. 14). its these seem tit odds with the wide array of time-consuming non-pining activities undertaken by these respondents. Two of the three parents insolved also expressed surprise at these Figures. The chicken‘: responses have to be treated with some caution as ‘tonnage bravado‘ may have Influenced sortie of their answers. Console hardware The I2 respondents have previously owned 35 games consoles and platforms between them. Otrrently. those respondents own 27 consoles (or P0: with gaming potential} between them. However. in five cases there is sibling cooperation in the acquisition and use of games hardware, so some of these 35 are “double counts”. There is no predominant non-PC games console; the P9 is owned or joint-owned by 5 of the respondents. with the Mi. lbox. Max 360. PS1. I3. PS’ and Gnrneoibe also being mentioned as current console s.
  5. 5. Aspirations as to the next games console were split. 4 respondents did not aspire too new games console. whereas 3 desired a PS3. 3 a Wii and 2 an Xbox 360. Console software 'l'here was no consensus as to the favourite genre of games played by the children. First person shooter. platform. sports. action and simulation games were mentioned several times. One girl preferred equestrian simulations. and declared that: "Anything without horses liu it] is boring. " In fact. defining the genres of games that were disliked was found to be easier than defining those that were tilted. especially by teenage boys. For example. from one such interviewee: llisparaging tone] ‘This game is so gay. " Similarly. there was no individual game favoured by many ofthe 12. Football manager. Saints Row and Gears of War were mentioned several times. Miltiplayer participation None ofthe I2 played console games online against other people. Some (4) played PCgames online. though these were all single-player games. Interviewees were asked whether they tended to play multiplaycr (offline) games against family members in the same household. relatives (different households). schoolmates or other local people. Two of the 12 did not play games against other people: the other I0 played games predominantly against their siblings and their schoolmates who live on the island (see also “fiirvey deficiencies”). Parental involvement All of the parents of the I2 said that they never played video games either with their children. or on their own. However. anecdotal evidence points to 4 of these (at least occasionally) playing video games. Two quotes: Parent: "I have never played a video game. Apart from lhnjo Kazooie. And a racing game. " Son: "And the resin? ‘ . .and: Parent [speaking emphatically): “Db. lhave never played a game. " lhughterr “What about when you played Brain Training all dny'. " Parental involvement was most evident in games purchase. Mast games were purchased online. with the assistance of parents-, . with Amazon, Game and PIay. eom mentioned most frequently. Trips to the mainland were the other method of games purchase. Parental games monitoring Parental monitoring of which games were purchased differed. Mist parents did not conduct their own independent research. It these cases there was a higt degree of family trust. with
  6. 6. the eventual child player being the sole source of feedback on whether a potential game purchase was suitable. However. when purchasing u game in a shop. 5 of the 7 parents who expressed an opinion said they scrutinised the game in some way before purchase. (X the I2 children. 8 had a parent or parents who monitored the games played by their children in a variety of ways. For example: “lwait until he goes to school. then I30 in his room to see what he's been playing. “ ‘lcheck what is on the screen when passing, " "1he games console stays in this room. where lean hear what is going on. " The situation concerning age-rated games drew different parental responses. Some parents repeated that they scrutinised games during shop purchases. (xher responses included: “latternpted to barn at game once. then lound they went round to someone else‘s house to play their copy. " ‘Iii. They tend to regulate themselves. " “Depends. Sometimes ldo; some games [son] is not allowed to play. " Aquest ion asking parents if they restricted the time their childlren) spend playing games elicited the most defensive responses. ‘miss was the one issue in the interview sessions that (twice) caused some friction between the interviewer and parents. Possibly. it was seen by some as a strong reflection of parental responsibility. or as an implied critique of their child's ability to self»regulate and sell‘-organise their time. Four parents stated that they did not need to restrict the time their child or children spent playing games. as their children were responsible in this area. For example: “M. as she knows site has to do her homework first. She is not addicted to games II had not suggested she was. or used the word "addicted"| . and spends less time playing them now than when she was younger. ” “H: regulates his gameplay himself. " ‘H: does his homework first. " 0! the others, the parents of 3 children said simply no. while the others placed varying restrictions on gameplay time. For example: "| don't need to at the moment. but would have no problem in kicking them out the house on a sunny day if they were playing gatnes. " Non-game time allocation All children interviewed had an array of other digital equipment. The responses of the I2 were: Primary! own PC’! Me: 12 Own TV. l0 Own [ND 9 While phone: 9 figital camera: 7 Ipodl ll/ P3 player: 6 000000 Anumbet of questions related to their use of the Internet were asked. All used the Internet at home and at school; at the time ofthe survey. l0ol the 12 had broadband access at home (at the time of writing this paper. all I2 do). From these questions it was surmised that:
  7. 7. o 8 downloaded online music 0 9 used chatl messenger programmes 0 9 used one particular social networking website Five questions were asked to gain some concept of the overall use of time, and the context of gameplay within a normal day. As a warm-up and calibration question. the children were asked how much time they spent travelling to and from school every day. As there are only two schools. this answer was already known hy the interviewer. Fairly accurate answers were given by all. However. when asked the amount of time spent doing homework per week on average. this caused confusion and illogical responses. These ranged from 30 minutes per week to I hour per day. There was no indication of whether time spent on homework differed according to either age or gender. The 12 children were asked how much more they would play games when it's dark e. g. during winter. or a prolonged spell of had weather. Of the 12, two said they would play a hit more while the other I0 would play “a lot“ or “loads” more. 3 children independently ventured that they would play games for several hours more when the weather was very bad. ibwever. when reminded of the other digital media they have access to at home. 2 of the 3 changed their minds and said they may do other things: "I'd chat to everyone [meaning schoolmates] on [chat programl. “ "I'd [social network] for a while. " The 12 children were asked what they would do with their spare time if they suddenly couldn't play video games. The point of this question was to l‘ind out. in a more spontaneous manner. their fatourite non-gaming activity. Responses were varied. and contained a mixture of digital and non-digital entertainment: Listen to music (in online or watch TV 00 horse riding] look at a horse hike Airfix models Play football Help out with the sheep use a social networking site (several responses) flaw pictures and write stories on the computer Go out Watch DUB it is noticeable that most of these activities are. or were meant, in a social multi-person context e. g. play football. go horse riding (with someone else). The final question concerned the "cultural activities" undertaken by each child. such as organised sports. music. after-school clubs and societies. The average was 3.2 different types of activities per week; repeat mentions were made of: Youth club fiiorts nights in the community hall Football training Horse riding Sunday school
  8. 8. 0 Music practice (guitar. bagpipes. accordion. keyboard. piano. clarinet. clursach) 0 lhtnningl athletics Adult game players Five adult residents who were regular or frequent game players were asked the same core set of questions as the child game players. but with questions conceming school-related issues. e. g. amount of time spent doing homework, removed. These interviews revealed the following: 0 Three had extensive console collections (N, 9 and 8 units) and had been players for at least several years or decades. 0 All 5 bad irregular or erratic game playing habits. going through periods of significant gameplay, followed by periods taken up by other activities. e. g. work. involvement in social or community events. holidays. 0 All 5 had hternet acccw at home (4 on broadband. I on dial-up). which they used extensively. Two used the hternet for work. while a third to support work-based activities. All of the 5 had played PC games online but none had. until very recently. played online console-based games. 0 The 5 had small social game playing networks. playing against their neighbour! friend, partner or younger sibling. Mny aspects of the social and working lives of‘ the adults are very different from those of the children. resulting in game playing comparisons between the two groups being of limited use. With hindsight. and this is something that may be taken up at a future stage. it may have been better to have conducted interviews with all resident adults concerning their uses of digital technologies (including the Internet and video games). This would have resulted in a larger body of comparable data. The five infrequent adult video game players were not formally surveyed. This was mainly due to the reluctance of all five to discuss their gameplny experiences within ll formal framework. Data capture issues Interview sessions All parents were asked permission first. with an explanation of what the study was for. It was made clear that: 0 the survey was not meant to be judgemental in any way 0 identities of respondents would not be revealed in the paper All interviews tool: place at the family home. Depending on domestic arrangements and social spaces, some interviews took place with parents in the same room (with varying levels of participation) and some without. firttight after the children were interviewed. their pnrentts) were interviewed. This made some children anxious. and they would hover just out of sight to hear their parents‘ responses.
  9. 9. Accuracy ofresponses The accuracy of some of the responses was debatable. Key factors in suspected inaccurate responses were: 0 Whether parents were able to hear the responses. 0 Boasting or exaggeration. most likely in teenage boys. Not surprisingly. responses (and the confidence of responses) to "How much time do you spend doing homework? ‘ differed depending on whether a parent was present. Three children contributed the unprompted information that they did their homework on the school bus. but in these three cases their parents were not present during questioning. Parental concerns The questioning of parents frequently started open-ended debate on three issues: 1. hbnitoring htcrnet use. Parents had different attitudes to their children‘: use of the Internet. The most frequently mentioned concerns were the amount of time spent online. a reason also cited by several parents for obtaining broadband (so their children did not “hug” the phone line through extended dial-up sessions]. 9 of the 12 child respondents lived in households with it sole communal PC shared by all family members. In these cases. parents tended to check the “website history" for use. though some were aware that their children could and were getting around this by wiping the history index at the end of an online session. ! J Use of social networking websites. with one particular website being mentioned by all parent is. [Xfferent parents employed different strategies for monitoring their child's use of this particular site. 3. The amount of time spent indoors during pleasant weather days. Three parents expressed confidence at the varied range of activities their children participated in. c. g. "I'm always driving him to sports events such as football. He gets out a lot. though I end up being a personal taxi service. " . .while several others commented on the all-day multi-modal communication between essentially the same group of people: “Sic gets up early in the morning. goes to school and talks to her schoolmates for an hour there on the bus. Then she sees them at school all day. Then she chats to them on the bus all the way home. Then she does her homework. then goes online and does all the computer chat to them again. Then goes to sleep and does it all again the next day. " While no parent seemed unduly concerned about this intense multi-modal pattern of communication. all who mentioned it scented puzzled by its “all day" on-off nature.
  10. 10. Survey deficiencies lnitially. just three surveys were undertaken as a pilot: analysis of these resulted in many of the questions being altered. However. there were still some deficiencies that became apparent during the main survey: I. Questions carried an implied categorisation of gaming platforms into PC Mac and consoles. Wnh hindsight. this should have been widened or the questions made more open and inclusive. One respondent near the end ofthe survey mentioned that she played digital games on Ry ‘IV. while another said he played games on his mobile phone. 2. Qiestions about digital equipment caused some conl'u. ~sion. For example. some people have a digital camera within their mobile phone. while DUB can also be watched using a games console! Wcombination. Though only 6 of the I2 children claimed ownership of an Ipod or W3 player. most had access to one or more devices, e. g. PS? portable games console that could play music. 3. On the question of playing games against other people. asking interviewees to differentiate between relatives. schoolmates and other islanders caused confusion. This is because many people on mrneray are related. albeit through distant cousiuhood or other complex shared ancestry. I. It was impossible to retain any “element of surprise" when asking questions. in urban mainland survey could use a sample population who have no contact. and therefore the interviewees will not have heard the questions before, giving no time to rehearse an answer. However. here on Berneray. it became apparent after the first few interviews that the interviewees had been told of some of the questions they would be asked in advance. Further analysis The data. and issues arising from the suney. are considered further under the four headings suggested by [I2]. Consumption oftime in games The lack of multiplayer online gaming is probably most highly affected by the talte-up of broadband. h is only since January of 2006 that some households have been able to obtain this service. Since that date. although all children interviewed now have broadband at home. installation of the service has been slow. It is difficult to anticipate how online gaming will affect the time spent playing games. especially as it will “compete” against the array of digital and non-digital activities already undertaken. As stated, the children who played video games spend an average of 5.5 hours a week (47 minutes a day) on this activity. However. when factoring in the children of capable age who don’t play video games. then this averages 4.4 hours per week or 37 minutes ll day. Comparing this to national and intemational trends is dillieult, due to the wildly eonlletlng llgures promced in surveys and reports. For example. a neutral UK Department of Trade and Industry report ctaime that ‘children play computer games to: an average ol 45 minutes a day‘ [13], while another survey (used within an antigames agenda) claims that children play such games for over an hour a day [14]. The more croohle data by Boentlos [9] gives a UK average ol 31 minutes per day and an EU average of 32 minutes.
  11. 11. A briet survey oi 14 such studies that inrioeted some measure at rigorous methodology gave a spread ol 30 minutes to 75 minutes as the average time. per day. that game playing children spend playing video games. There is one signitioent factor, not present or considered in national or intemational surveys. which has a slgnilimnt local ettect on how much time is available to play games: the trb to sohooL The primary school is a 45-minute bus ride away. while the secondary school is lurther. To quote one parent: "School travel is a major teaer. Travel is 1 hour and 10 minutes there. and I hour and 15 minutes back. Alter homework. that doesn't leave much time lor anything else. " This means that a Bemeray resident who is a paid at secondary ediool spends over 12 hours a week in travel to and from school. The ellects of this on their cumulative spare tlrne are therelore significant. lnvestment of money in games The lack of part—time work. and regulations concerning children working. mean there are few opportunities for people to earn income before they leave school. Consequently. parents are often the main financial prtividers of both gaming hardware and software. The parents of all I2 children stated that they contributed financially. l-hwever. the survey indicated that at least 7 of those I2 also gained money by other means -which they spent on computer games - such as trading outline. saving monies and obtaining monies front relatives. Several of the children, and some of the adults. regularly acquire the "latest" games consoles on their release; hence. there are several owners of Psls. Wiis. Xbox 3605. [Be and PSI’: on ll-meray. At the time of writing this paper. shortly after the PS3 was launched. one was already owned and in use (for oflline and online gaming) on the island. On the surface. this may be indicative of significant disposable income in some households. However. the fiscal skills and experience of both parents and children, combined with the widespread use of online shopping. means that costsot‘ new hardware are often minimised or offset. For example, the hrother [I3-year-old male] of the owner ofthe PS1 stated that: “We sell our consoles at the righl time online so we get the best price and can buy the next console. " ht one parent observed: ‘If the kids from Berneray went on The Apprentice. with their money-making skills they would savage the opposing team and take over Alan Stgara eontpany. ” Attitudes surrounding games and playing It is an interesting aspect ol‘ the research that. although there are at wide variety of activities that the children could be doing -many of them optional « the frequency of playing video games does not seem to suffer. In Frornme's survey [8] of l. I 11 children. he reported that more than half of the boys (55.7% and about 29‘Fnol the girls reported they played regularly. and about -'lll‘2l. ~ol‘ the boys and 5l‘li~of the girls said they played casually. Taking an average across the surveys gives a figure of approximately 70‘I~ol' UKchildrea playing computer or video games every week. though
  12. 12. significant methodological differences between these surveys result in a disappointing lack of consensus on national averages On Bemeray. the figures are slightly higher; the proportion of children who played video games infrequently to frequently was 80%-[I2 out of IS). Of eutine. when dealing with such small sample sizes. one subject playing or not playing can make a significant difference to overall scores: lhlli and other aspects oi small population sampling mean that comparisons to larger surveys should be treated cautiously. A more interesting aspect of l<'roinme's surtey concerned when children played video games: Fig.0: who do clilldrul play eonpuhrganiu? (oriqmnovmo ptq-Qroenocnpdoorl) born. uuuon ——$—$—: — fi our-riuoqinnno . §fiOIfllyfl| MOlII CNITKUUDIDQK aothnnponote The “bad weather" reason was also at factor in the Bnneray survey. with It) at the I2 children stating that bad weather would make them play" “it lot‘ or "loads" more. Howeser. in the Periphery. it should be notetl that ‘bad weather" can also include it lack oi daylight. N the end of D. -cemher. daylight is restricted to it few hours per day (often combined with bad weather). while in the middle of summer. there is still daylight near midnight (combined with good weather). Parental attitudes concerning game playing were generally relaxed. possibly as there was recognition that the children actively participated in ii wider range of digital. non-digital and social activities. Practices around games in people's lives The array of activities undertaken by the interviewees. its described previously. is quite diverse. consisting ofa mixture of digital. non-digital. cultural and social activities. One social networking site in particular was mentioned repeatedly. by both the children and their parents. ‘lhis would appear to be a priritary‘ means of both "online presence" and communication between nearly all the schoolchildren. Despite the suney being focused on gameplay. this particular site repeatedly came up in association with a number cal questions. e. g. “What do you do when the weather is bad? " and “If you couldn't play games. what would you do'. " This particular activity was one about which the parents shared it common concern.
  13. 13. ligital culture also extended to methods of finding out information about games. such as which to purchase. or how to get past a particular problem in a game. As there are no bookshops. or shops selling magazines to browse through or purchase. such activities tend to be online. Eight of the I2 children said they went online to find help. cheats and walltthroughs. Quantifying the time spent on each activity in the programme of activities each child maintains would he a difficult undertaking. as the programme is so fragmented and complex. While some activities are fixed. e. g. a set time for sports in the hall and formal music lessons. others such as kicking a football around are not and are dependent on factors such as the weather and who else is available. In addition. each activity carries with it a variable amount of “dead time”. e. g. preparation and travel time. Future potential work ‘me work undertaken so far has been preliminary rather than final in nature. Though unfunded, it has had the benefit of digging out some uucollected data and illuminating other areas of potentially useful research. Five of these areas. connected with the initial question asked in the abstract. are: I. Qher. more formal. surveys of gameplay and digital media usage in other areas of the Periphery (such as Lofoten. Aland and Sietland Islands) would help to validate this survey and provide more comparative data. Dita from 22 people out of a resident population of 130 is not enough to provide a definitive answer to the question posed in the abstract. 3-) How online gaming may affect the time spent on gameplay. and the nature of gameplay. is a question which the Periphery is well positioned to investigate. As remote areas are connected up to broadband. there are still opportunities for carrying out “before lhroadbandl" and "after lbroadbandl" surveys using the same people as subjects. 9» Family and social connections and networking are considerably diflerent in Drneray than in a typical urban community. Amucb higher proportion of the population are related: smaller groups of people are in extended social proximity: logistics and services make it actively diflicult to live socially separate from the populace. This affects all aspects of life. even online functionality. e. g. local people exchange information about good online shopping sites. Sudies of aspects of this rural sociology and how they are affected by digital and online services are difficult to find. 4. Through anecdote and observation. and comments arising from this work. it has become gradually apparent that many adults on llerneray use the htternct for a very wide number of pllrpttscs. such as online shopping. banking. work. communication. travel planning and obtaining news and information. An island—wide formal survey of hternet use. with comparisons to the mainland. would be of interen to potential residents and service providers. '¢fl The use of “social networking websites" (part of the so—called Web 2.0 phenomenon) is ubiquitous among children. teenagers and. increasingly. adults residing in or with family connections in the Outer l-kbrides. How and why the one particular website is used as a primary means of communication and “soft information” sharing is an unanswered question.
  14. 14. Acknowledgements My thanks to the 22 people who participated in the research. References [I] Isle of Berneray community website. I2] Rampant Scotland tourist information about the Outer Hebridean islands. ' Iwww at v’ ' ' ' ' s [3] Wiltipedia entry for the Norwegian island of Bjornuya. tt zll . w"' '. w" 'I ' a [4] Map of the area cosered by the 2000-2006 EU Northern Periphery programme. http: lIwww. hg' . co. g|tI northgrn-griflryhtm - note: the countries within the “Mmhern Periphery” are not fixed and ditter according to the progam; some count northwest Russia. Northern Canada and! or ieland amongst the periphery. I5] Statistics Mirway population figures by settlement. htt : IIwwva'. ssh. no/ en Ii. suliects/02I0l lolheltett enltab-2006-07-0 -0|-en. htmI [6] List of countries by population density. : lIen. wi| ti d'ta. or wiLiIList of countries b ulation densit [7] List of llKcities. towns and districts by population. Ittt : lIen. wi| ti dia. or wild/ Ijst of Lhited Kin dotn cities‘R towns and districts b u mm [B] Fromme. J. (2(lJ3) Computer Games as a Part of Children’; Culture. Came Studies. vol. 3 (I). I9] Beentjes. .l. WJ. et al (2(l)I) Children's Use of Dfferent hidia: For How Long and V41ty'. ’h S Livingstone & M Bovill (sum, Otildren and Their Changing htdia Environment. Afiiropean Comparative Study. Mthwah. N1 at London: hwrencc Blbaum Associates. 2001. 85-1 ll [I0] Mrsh. I. et al (2005) Iigital beginnings: Young children's use of popular culture. media and new technologies. literacy ksearch Centre. University of Sieffield. htt : IIwww. di it I e innin as f. ae. ult/ I)’ itallh innin Re rt. df | ll] Valentine. (1 and Pattie. C. (2005) Children and Young People's Home Use of ICT for Educational Purposes: The Inpact on Attainment at Key Sages I-4. Ufillesearclt Report R3672. I [I2] hlyra. F. (2006). Welcome to Mapping the Global Garnc Qiltures: ksucs for 8 Socio- Cultural Study of Games and Players. Gaining Realities Conlerence. Athens. Greece. [I3] Travis. A. (2001). Zap! Go to the top of the Class. (ktardian online. t : IIwww . . w. to I 1 4 1 t ll-ll Are kids turning into Telly 'l'ulJbies'. ’ Trutex press release. 2(I)5. http: lIwww, trutex. comI press relegseg artiele. php‘.7td=8

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