Video games are an indispensable part of the lives of young people in Croatia. Almost all young people in Croatia between the ages of 12 and 25 (97 percent of them) play video games on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone, half of them play daily, and 40 percent play and forget to eat or drink for a few hours. These are insights from a survey on the habits of young people in gaming carried out by Hrvatski Telekom in cooperation with the SmartUp market research agency.
When it comes to the risks of gaming, young people have shown a relatively high awareness of the dangers. But despite this, 50 percent of them still engage in some risky behaviors believing that bad things primarily happen to others. As many as 81 percent of young people are aware that they can become addicted to games, but still 60 percent of them between the ages of 12 and 15 play a few hours a day, risking failing at school and family obligations.
The survey found that about 50 percent of young people in one of the games accepted a friend request from an unknown person, and just as many experienced some form of swearing, insults, and aggressive behaviors while playing. Also, two-thirds of young people are concerned about stolen passwords or personal information from the gaming platform, receiving threatening images, posting personal data or untruths about them, posing adults as teenagers, and sending their own pictures and videos to an online friend they don't know in real life.
For the first time, the research also tested the attitude towards girls in the gaming world, who are increasingly exposed to exclusion and abuse. Here also, there is a significant disparity in the understanding of girls' gaming skills in the eyes of girls and boys, which is actually the basis of bad behaviors towards girls in gaming. Namely, while 70 percent of girls think that they can play better than boys, between 40 and 50 percent of boys think the same.
Aware of all the risks, but also the benefits that responsible gaming brings to the creativity and innovation of young people, Hrvatski Telekom has launched the first YouTube gaming show, Ultimate Gamer, an amateur gaming competition, which will further educate young people with fun and a customized environment on important topics. An integral part of each show will be the so-called Secret knowledge, in which well-known mentors will educate young players about responsible gaming, how to protect themselves from potential dangers in the virtual world, but also how to develop new skills that can help them in the future. As many as seven girls out of a total of 12 contestants will be in charge of breaking down gender prejudices in gaming.
"Hrvatski Telekom is aware of the risks that gaming exposes young people to, but we are even more aware of all the benefits that responsible gaming brings them. That is why the education of young people, and their parents is essential to us. After the extremely popular HT e-League, we are launching the first YouTube gaming show in Croatia. We will choose the best amateur young gamer in Croatia. We are convinced that the show will entertain young people all over Croatia and teach them a lot. Responsible behavior in the digital world is becoming an increasingly important element of basic skills that we need to build to take advantage of all the opportunities that technology gives us," said Branka Bajt, Director of the Brand Sector at Hrvatski Telekom.