97% of teens play video games

September 17, 2008

That is a freakin’ amazing statistic!

It comes from a report released yesterday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, which I’ve always found to be a fascinating source of information on the impact of the Internet.

There’s virtually no gender difference, either: 99% of boys and 94% of girls between ages 12 and 17 play video games. I see this in my own household; my 8-year-old daughter plays Pokemon games on her handheld Nintendo device, and goes online to Club Penguin and Webkinz World.

This obviously has huge implications for marketers. Although I think everyone is quite aware of the importance of online marketing, a finding like this just underscores how important it is to present clients with innovative online programs. Online is where people live today.

The teens who are online today — in other words, ALL of them — will certainly continue that behavior as they get older. That’s why I don’t mind my daughter’s gaming. For her, online literacy will be every bit as important as traditional literacy. The time she spends playing games online is building skills that she’ll need as she grows up. I’ve never had to instruct her in how to get around a Web site; she figures it out herself. She just understands intuitively how to navigate that world.

That’s a skill she’ll need as she grows into the working world in 10 or 15 years.