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High school students are in the developing stage of their life and they have very peculiar interests. A detailed analysis of high school students in the US as well as Asia, that focuses on the gaming habits, popular pastimes/hobbies, perspectives about online learning, and content consumption habits, has been provided below.

High School Students in the US

Gaming Habits

Pathological Gaming

  • As much as 8.5% of the younger audience aged 8-18 “pathologically” plays video games. Pathological gamers are defined as gamers that play games too often.
  • Playing video games does not usually cause problems for the players, however, those that play ‘pathologically’ can face problems in other areas of their lives.

9 Out of 10 Young People Play Games

What Parents Think About Teenagers?

  • Parents of teenagers think that their children are spending too much time playing video games.
  • According to a report published by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll at the University of Michigan, 86% of American parents either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” to the statement about teenagers spending too much time playing games.
  • Teen boys (41%) were found to be ahead of adolescent girls (20%) in playing video games every day.
  • Although parents think children are spending too much time, 78% of them think that this is normal and that their children are not playing more than others.

The Time Invested in Gaming

  • Over 50% of US parents reported that teenagers spend anywhere over 3 hours each day playing games.
  • Mott Poll, co-director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll, and Dr. Gary Freed reported, “Although many parents believe video games can be good for teens, they also report a number of negative impacts of prolonged gaming.”

The Devices Used for Gaming

  • Teenagers today have many options in terms of devices to use for gaming purposes. The most popular devices among teens, aged 12-17, are consoles, including the Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii, which are the weapon of choice for 86% of teens.
  • 73% of teenagers prefer a desktop or laptop computer to play video games.
  • Portable gaming devices are also popular and are used by 60% of US teens. These devices include the Game Boy, the Sony PlayStation Portable, and the Nintendo DS.
  • Cell phones and handheld organizers are also used by 48% of American teens to satisfy their gaming needs.

Popular Hobbies

  • Research sources that investigate the most popular pastime/hobbies of high school students in the US seem to be scarce. However, an old study from the National Center for Education Statistics reports a detailed analysis of the participation of high school seniors from public schools in various extracurricular activities.
  • According to the study, the most popular pastime/school activities among high school students was found to be sports with 42.4% participation. Other activities that followed include performing arts (27.5%), academic clubs (26.2%), vocational/professional clubs (20.8%), honor societies (18.1%), publications (17%), student government (15.5%), service clubs (15.2%), and hobby clubs (8.5%).
  • A study in 2017 found the most popular outdoor activities for US children, aged 6-17, based on participation rates. The results showed that 24% of children were fond of road biking, mountain biking, or BMX, while other activities included freshwater, saltwater, and fly-fishing (23%); running, jogging, and trail running (21%); car, backyard, backpacking, and RV camping (21%); and hiking (16%).
  • According to a survey, conducted by YPulse, of 13-36-year-old people in the US, the top 5 most popular hobbies were found to be music/playing an instrument, sports, gaming, reading, and cooking/baking. With 71% of the survey respondents voting for music, it was found to be the most popular pastime of this age group.
  • When 13-17-year-olds were considered separately, the survey results showed that the top 5 most popular hobbies were sports, music, gaming, art, and cooking/baking and reading, in that order. Cooking/baking and reading were tied for the 5th spot on the list.
  • Other pastimes popular among teens include watching TV/videos, browsing websites, using social media, creating content, video chatting, and reading online.

Online Learning

The Inspiration for Online Learning

  • The Buechner Institute for Governance submitted a report, about online learning on the perspectives of online learners, to the Colorado Department of Education Unit of Online Learning. Besides other things, the report outlined some of the most important reasons why students, who previously attended brick-and-mortar schools, decided to join online learning.
  • The top three most important reasons included the choice of classes available, the possibility to graduate early, and the rapid pace of classes desirable to students as compared to brick-and-mortar schools.
  • The reasons that followed “were that students were falling behind in their classes and they needed to ‘change something‘ and students needed to make up credits for classes they had failed.”
  • Apart from these reasons, the convenience offered by online learning, including a flexible schedule, was also cited by many students as a positive thing about online learning.

Student Perspective of Performance in Online Classes

  • On a scale of 1-5, ‘1’ being ‘very badly’ and ‘5’ being ‘very well’, students voted for a mean score of 3.8 for overall performance in terms of grades.
  • In terms of specific subjects, students rated their performance on the same scale, and language arts classes (3.82) came out on top as compared to science (3.76) and maths (3.57).

Lack of Activities


  • Communication with teachers, in online schools, has not been a problem for most students. 95.8% of students found teacher support, for school work, to be adequate.
  • Only 5.5% of students were not satisfied with the communication with teachers.
  • Most students, on average, rated communication 4.24-4.37 on a scale of 1-5 with ‘1’ being ‘not at all satisfied’ and ‘5’ being ‘very satisfied’.

Motivation and Focus

  • Although students were found to be motivated enough to be able to complete their online classwork easily, they faced some difficulties in staying focused.
  • 72.4% of students reported being motivated to complete classwork, whereas only 8.5% of students found themselves either not motivated or having very little motivation.
  • 8.7% of students reported having difficulties staying focused in online classes, whereas 65.3% of students found it easy to stay focused. This ratio is still less than the students who found that staying motivated was easy.


  • Students were found to be highly satisfied with their online learning programs. 83.1% of students rated their satisfaction levels at ‘4’ or ‘5’ on a scale of 1-5, where ‘1’ is defined as ‘not satisfied at all’ and ‘5’ is defined as ‘very satisfied’.
  • 78.5% of students thought that online learning is better than brick-and-mortar schools, whereas 17.2% of students were not sure.

Content Consumption and Online Behavior

Online Interaction with Friends

  • Teens spend considerable amounts of time with their friends online. The time spent per week can stack up to a whole day or even more for 88% of teens.
  • Although teens also spend in-person time with friends, they are much more likely to interact with their friends online than in-person interactions.
  • Online interaction is an everyday thing for 60% of teens, as compared to those who spend in-person time with friends daily. This time excludes time spent in school or school-related activities. This data is elaborated in the graph below.

Teens spending time with friends online


Online Groups and Forums

  • Online groups and forums are also popular among teens in the US. Approximately 50% of teens reported spending time in online groups or forums often (12%) or sometimes (34%).
  • An additional 31% of teens reported rarely spending time in online groups or forums.
  • Within this segment of teens, boys are twice as likely to visit online groups as compared to girls.
  • Among teens visiting online groups or forums, boys and girls are likely to visit groups/forums based on their interests.

Most Popular Groups

  • 41% of teens participate in online groups centered around hobbies, e.g. gaming. Another popular genre of groups is humor, which is visited by 40% of teens in the US.
  • Approximately 25% of teens have also reported spending time in groups relating to sports, fashion, or pop culture; while close-to 10% of teens also take part in groups focusing on religion, politics, or identity.
  • While boys are more likely to visit groups surrounding hobbies, e.g. gaming or sports, girls like to spend time in groups that relate to health and wellness, fashion, and even groups that target specific people, e.g. people of color or LGBT. Although there are contrasting interests for boys and girls, some of them also overlap, e.g. pop culture or humor. The image (below) charts the proportion of teens that visit different types of online groups.

Teens joining online groupsSource

Online Videos are Popular Among Teens

  • The past few years have seen an increase, from 34% to 69%, in the number of 13-18-year-olds that watch online videos every day.
  • Not only has the number of young people watching these videos grown considerably, but the amount of time spent watching online videos has also doubled from 30 minutes a day to approximately 60 minutes each day on average. This data can also be seen in the image below.

Top Screen Media Activities for Teens

Favorite Platforms and Devices

  • According to another report by Awesomeness, which is a media company, 71% of teens love streaming videos.
  • Their favorite device for streaming videos is a smartphone, while their favorite platform is YouTube. The chart below describes the devices and platforms that teens enjoy streaming videos on.

Teen video consumption - devices and platforms

Gen Z Enjoys Video Content

  • Gen Z, which teens are a part of, enjoy watching videos. On average, Gen Z’ers watch 68 videos every day.
  • YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram are some of the most likable platforms. The chart below provides a detailed analysis of the kind of videos that this generation enjoys.

Gen Z video content

High School Students in Asia

Gaming Habits

Youth Addicted to Gaming

  • A large portion of Chinese youth, including junior and senior high school students, are addicted to gaming, as reported in China Youth Daily.
  • The report found that 18% of youth in China spend at least 4-5 hours each day playing online video games.

Unable to Unplug Despite Recognizing the Risks

  • 41.3% of young people in China are aware that spending too much time online can be unhealthy, however, that does not stop them from doing so. They say that they are not in control and are unable to stop playing online games.
  • Zhou Huazhen, a scholar with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), said, “Internet addiction is relevant to our lives. Almost one in every five youth has already been or is likely to become addicted to video games.”

The Preferred Devices and Game Types

  • According to a study conducted on high school students in the Western Black Sea region, students reported playing digital games on smartphones (50%), laptops (34.4%), PC (6.2%), consoles (3.3%), tablets (3.3%). There was another segment of students (19.1%) who preferred going to internet cafes to play games.
  • Single-user digital games are preferred by 72.2% of students, whereas 27.3% of students also play multi-user games.
  • 75.9% of students who play multi-user games play them with strangers over the internet, while 23.4% of students play with their friends, and 0.7% even play with their parents.

Frequency of Playing Online Games

The Gaming Disorder

  • The WHO (World Health Organization) now officially recognizes gaming addiction as a disorder and calls it the gaming disorder. It is characterized by the negative impact of video games on the jobs, education, family, and social lives of those addicted to gaming.
  • Reportedly, the gaming disorder is more prevalent in Asian countries, as opposed to other regions of the world, e.g. Europe or North America.
  • Reports suggest that gaming disorder is prevalent in 10% of kids in China, whereas it is found in only 1-2% of kids and teens in the US.

Popular Pastimes

  • According to research conducted on the most popular pastime among junior high school students in Vietnam, watching TV or listening to music is the most popular pastime.
  • Other popular pastimes that follow include doing housework/helping at the farm, observing nature, and hanging out with friends and family.
  • Up to 47% of students prefer listening to music or watching TV, while only 20% think about reading as their favorite hobby.
  • While data in the form of statistics could not be located for China, some of the renowned pastimes in China include hiking and leisure walks, martial arts, majiang, ping pong/badminton, football, painting, beaching, flying kites, and biking.
  • Other notable hobbies/sports in China include Jianzi (Chinese Hacky Sack), Tai Chi, Tuo Luo, calligraphy, and Cuju.

Online Learning

The Flexibility with E-Learning

  • A study conducted with 45 students, aged 13-17, in Malaysia, revealed that students found e-learning to be more flexible, with a mean score of 4.45 on a scale of 1-5 with ‘1’ meaning ‘strongly disagree’ and ‘5’ meaning ‘strongly agree’ because it offers both instructor-led or self-study courses.
  • Other studies found that the reason for e-learning being effective could be because of its ability to cater to a variety of learning styles for students.
  • The same study found that students rated the statement, “E-learning provides me with different learning styles and can make my learning more fun”, with a mean score of 4.09, which again shows that students found e-learning to be more flexible.
  • Flexibility can also be proven with a mean score of 4.33 to the statement, “E-learning gives no time barrier”.

Enhancing Computer and Internet Skills

  • Students also thought that e-learning can help them in enhancing their computer and internet skills. They rated this factor with a mean score of 4.29.
  • In the same vein, students perceived e-learning as something that can have additional advantages rather than having disadvantages.

Distracted while Learning Online

  • With internet addiction rates as high as 26.5% in China, students find themselves overwhelmed with the distractions they face while attending online classes.
  • With schoolwork, social and extracurricular activities all being online, especially during the lockdown due to the pandemic, students have been spending more time over the internet, which has been a source of concern for the parents as well.
  • Online activities that distract students are also prevalent among the Chinese. These activities include social networking with a prevalence rate of 94.73%, entertainment with a prevalence rate of 82.44%, internet gaming with a prevalence rate of 73.42%, and shopping online with a prevalence rate of 33.67%.

Self-Expression in Online Learning

  • A study of 30 students, aged 16-18, in Turkey found that students had no problem in expressing themselves and their opinions comfortably.
  • The study also found that some students had some level of difficulty in expressing themselves initially, however, those students overcame that issue with the help of teachers and peers.

Online Learning is Effective

  • A survey of 13-24-year-old students from 24 countries, including the Philippines, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, revealed that 40% of students enjoy learning over the internet. This not only included learning for school but also for other areas, e.g. health.
  • Additionally, the same survey found that 24% of students also used the internet to learn additional skills, i.e. those that are not taught at school.

Content Consumption

Device Preference by Type of Content

  • According to a study by JustSystems with Japanese youth ages 15-19, 71.5% of music listeners mainly use their smartphones to listen to music, while only 10.3% mostly use devices other than smartphones for music.
  • Almost the same proportion, 71.2%, use their smartphones to view video content, while 8% of viewers use other devices for video content consumption.
  • Comic book and e-book readers that mainly use smartphones comprise 32.8% and 23.7% of the total study sample. The chart below represents the data that elaborates on the device preference for different media types.

Smartphone use for content

Social Media Usage

  • According to a study conducted in Istanbul, Turkey, high school students use different social media platforms for various purposes. The study analyzed the correlation of social platforms with each purpose.
  • For educational purposes, YouTube had the highest correlation followed by Facebook, Twitter, and discussion groups.
  • In terms of entertainment, YouTube, Facebook, discussion groups, and Twitter were found to have the highest correlations, in that order.
  • For social interaction, Twitter was the platform with the highest correlation, which was followed by discussion forums, Facebook, and YouTube.

Spending Time Online

  • According to a study that focused on Chinese youth, 41.3% of young people in China recognize that overuse of the internet can accompany health risks, but they are still unable to control themselves.
  • According to earlier research conducted in 2010, only 6.7% of students would spend over 6 hours over the internet every day. That proportion has clearly grown and it may be a concerning factor for students and parents.
  • Increasing internet addiction can cause problems in other areas of children’s lives.

Time Spent on Types of Media

  • The JustSystems study with Japanese 15-19-year-olds found that teens spend an average of 2 hours and 33 minutes using their smartphones every day.
  • TV came in second on the list with almost 2 hours of daily time spent. Desktop/laptop internet (64.3 minutes), magazines (18.5 minutes), radio (12.6 minutes), and newspapers (10.9 minutes) followed on the list. The chart below elaborates on the time spend on different media types.

Time spend on media types

Most Popular Apps on Smartphone

  • LINE, a communications app, was the most popular app among Japanese teen smartphone users.
  • The list of most popular apps continued with video apps, Twitter, Instagram, music apps, gaming, and entertainment apps.

Research Strategy

This research has highlighted the gaming habits, popular pastimes/hobbies, perspectives about online learning, and content consumption habits of teens in the US and Asian countries. In the course of this research, we had to rely on some older sources to extract relevant data. We have used old sources wherever helpful insights that directly relate to this research were found. Initially, we tried to find the most recent sources, however, we had to resort to older sources wherever recent sources were not available.For the part of the research that focuses on US high school students, we have provided data for the US only. However, for Asian countries, we have used data from specific countries, e.g. Japan, China, Singapore, and Turkey, as a proxy for Asian data. In most cases, overall data for Asian countries was not available, which is why we had to resort to individual countries.For the part of the research that lists down the most popular pastimes of high school students, we were unable to provide a concrete distribution of the most popular pastimes and/or hobbies. To compensate for that, we have provided as much relevant information, from a diversified range of sources, as possible.This research has focused on high school students wherever possible, however, most sources do not discuss high school students. Alternatively, we have used other descriptions for high school students to locate helpful sources. In doing so, we have used the suggested age group, i.e. 14-18-year-olds; the closest generation, i.e. Gen Z; and the closest age bracket, i.e. teens. We also had to use a little broader age bracket in some cases in order to source helpful information. It should be noted that the use of broad age ranges is still valid as they include the target age range.

Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at Simple Manifestation with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.


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