Press release: Teen gamers have as many friends as non-gamers

Uppsala University – Mar 07, 2018

Young digital gamers do not have fewer friends at school than their non-gamer peers, indicate two new research articles from SIRG.

SIRG researcher Lina Eklund and her collaborator Sara Roman investigated how digital gaming affects young people’s friendship formation. The results show that neither the adolescents who spend much of their time gaming nor those who self-identify as gamers have fewer school friends than their peers who play little or not at all. Evidently, too, students who are self-identified gamers tend to become friends with one another. In other words, the common interest of digital gaming seems to lead to new friendships at school.

The adolescent respondents (in their upper teens) themselves think that, as they approach adult life, they are limiting and managing their gaming in a way that enables them to prioritise what individuals of their age find important, such as friends, sport and school.

The study was based on analysis of all (115) first-year students at a new upper-secondary school in a Swedish metropolis. In particular, the authors analysed how the students’ social networks were created and changed during their first year at the school. Ten in-depth interviews with student gamers were conducted.

“The results are both surprising and expected. Sure enough, we thought ‘gamers’ would turn out to be making friends with one another. Gaming is such an important part of today’s youth culture that anything else would be odd. Just as adolescents used to get together through shared music tastes, so gaming is now a key element in media consumption. On the other hand, we weren’t so sure whether players would prove to be less sociable, or thus have fewer friends at school. Here, the previous research is limited,” Eklund says.

For more information please contact:
Lina Eklund, Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University, phone +46-(0)70-3318183,
Stockholm Internet Research Group,

Lina Eklund and Sara Roman (2018). Digital Gaming and Young People’s Friendships: A Mixed Methods Study of Time Use and Gaming in School. YOUNG: Nordic Journal of Youth Research,

Lina Eklund and Sara Roman (2017). Do adolescent gamers make friends offline? Identity and friendship formation in school. Computers in Human Behavior,

The research was funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (Forte).

New SIRG working paper on Crowdsourcing

SIRR 2017:1 is now live, read the latest results on how to consider the crowd in crowdsourcing methodology by SIRGs Lina Eklund, Isabell Stamm fromthe Technical University in Berlin, and Wanda Liebermann from Florida Atlantic University. The paper: Crowdsourcing as research method: hype, hope, and hazard  can be found here.

SIRG at AoIR17

Lina Eklund, Emma von Essen and Fatima Jonsson are presenting the study, ”To be or not to be on the Internet: a multidimensional tool for studying online anonymity” at the Association of Internet Researchers in Tartu, Estonia 2017.

Link to conference: AoIR17

Link to published abstract, AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research: SPIR