According to new research (as reported by the Independant), over half of Irish teenagers play multiplayer video games regularly, and while almost a third interact with other gamers online, 29 percent of those teens say they have "made friends" with others through online gaming.
The data comes from a new survey conducted by The Integration Centre, which also concludes - from the data collected - that Irish teens are more open to friendships with those from other cultures than non-gamers are. Around 62 percent of teen respondents said that they had a favorable attitude towards people from other countries and cultures, while only 50 percent of non-gamers expressed the same view.
The data also finds that female gamers in Ireland are less social than male gamers, with almost half saying that they never play multiplayer games and just 10 percent saying that they have made friends through online gaming. Around 55 percent of respondents are also more likely to have social media connections to people from other countries or cultures than non-gamers (40 percent).
According to the Cork Institute of Technology study, leisure activities comprise 40 - 50 percent of an adolescent's life. The research was conducted by Catherine Kenny, Ian McCafferty and Killian Forde.
"The popularity of online gaming among young people, in particular multiplayer games involving many players in different locations, has the potential to influence players' attitudes to people from other countries and cultures," said Ian McCafferty of The Integration Centre. "Respondents who played interactive online games regularly were more likely to have personal and online friends from other countries and cultures and to have favorable attitudes to people from other countries and cultures."
"Although the percentage differences were less than 15pc when compared with respondents in general, it is nevertheless significant," he added.
McCafferty goes on to say that there is real potential for online gaming to change the attitudes towards other cultures and to dispel stereotypes, but more research is needed.