While the most popular video games played by teens today span a variety of genres and ratings, including both games with violent and nonviolent content, about a third of teenagers who play video games report that at least one of their three favorite games is rated Mature or Adults Only. The two most widely played game genres were racing and puzzle games, played by nearly three-quarters of teens in a Pew Internet and American Life Project survey. These genres have little to no violent content. However, two-thirds of teens reported playing “action” or “adventure” games, some of which contain considerable violent content. The five most popular games are Guitar Hero, Halo 3, Madden NFL, Solitaire and Dance Dance Revolution. The ratings of these games range from E-rated “Everyone” games (Solitaire and Dance Dance Revolution), deemed suitable by the ratings board for players of all ages, to games rated Mature (M) for violence, blood and gore, and language (Halo). The range of genres spanned by the most popular games played by teens indicates they are not simply playing violent first-person shooters or action games. However, boys are more likely than girls to report playing these specific violent M-rated games. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.