The convergence of the sexes continues. In the recent past, one could credibly argue that men are more technologically attuned than women. Now, a 360 Youth College Explorer study of students ages 18-30 finds the gender gap narrowing. Online computer games offer one example of this trend. Despite gaming’s image as a male avocation, female respondents averaged almost as much playing time (2.7 hours per week) as their male counterparts (2.9 hours). And women weren’t much less likely than men to own a portable video-game system (22 percent vs. 27 percent). The gap is smaller still when it comes to digital cameras: 35 percent of college men and 32 percent of college women own one. Given women’s reputation (deserved or otherwise) as the more communicative sex, it’s no surprise that the poll’s female respondents were more likely than their male peers to own a cell phone (82 percent vs. 74 percent) or an answering machine (50 percent vs. 40 percent). Women were also a shade more likely than men to say they engage in Instant Messaging on a daily basis (43 percent vs. 42 percent). Perhaps because the verb “downloading” sounds so brawny, there does remain a sizable gender gap in that activity: 8 percent of the men, vs. 5 percent of the women, said they download music daily. And the men were far more likely than the women to say they own an MP3 player (22 percent vs. 12 percent). While the men and women were equally likely to own a DVD player (or to plan on buying one in the next year), male respondents were twice as likely as female collegians to watch DVDs and videos daily (12 percent vs. 6 percent).
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