If you have kids who are into gaming, you know how much joy they get from swinging around their Wii joysticks, jumping to their Kinect games and hollering at the screen when their race cars hit mach speed. There has been debate about how beneficial (or detrimental) gaming is for kids, but how does it affect family time for kids who game with their parents?
According to a recent study by PopCap games and Goldsmiths University, gaming is good for family bonding and has shown a positive impact in cultivating quality time. Of the 3,250 parents surveyed, a third of them play computer games with their children every day and 80% describe playing video games with their children as “quality time.”
Simple puzzle or strategy games, the study dubs as ‘casual games,’ are also used by parents (and grandparents) as additional ways of playing with their kids. A third of the parents surveyed think that their children concentrate better and 53% think that their children’s problem solving skills have improved because of casual game play.
Now, it’s important to note that PopCap Games – creators of popular games like Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies – sponsored this research, so the glowing results of how good it is for family bonding time should be taken with a grain of salt. But that being said, there’s no question that kids are gaming more and have much greater exposure to games than ever before. Sure they have their gaming consoles in the basement, but they can also play on their computers, handheld gaming devices, mobile devices and music players.
Another interesting take away from the study is how early children are becoming adopters of games and technology in general. Children as young as two are becoming well-versed in the workings of iPhones, iPads and the like, and 27% of the parents in the survey said that their children borrow their devices every day to play games.
Games are not going away and children aren’t going to stop playing them. If children and parents are playing age-appropriate games together in moderation, then it can most definitely qualify as ‘quality time.’ Angry Birds, anyone?