Gaming is becoming an increasingly popular opportunity for family bonding, according to new studies.
Gaming is becoming an increasingly popular opportunity for family bonding, according to new studies.

Families that game together, stay together?

FORGET the stereotype of the moody teenager playing his Xbox or PlayStation in a darkened room.

New studies show an increasing number of parents and older Australians are getting into gaming.

Research by Bond University and the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) found almost half of parents play games online with their kids, with reasons for playing together including family enjoyment, education, and as a way to monitor what children play.

The study of 1,234 Australian households and 3,135 individuals revealed that 67 per cent of people surveyed play video games.

Older Australians continue to make up the largest group of new players over the past six years with 43 per cent of people aged 65 and over playing video games. Females account for 46 per cent of all players.


Dr Jeff Brand, Professor at Bond University and lead author of the report, said that the average age of players has increased by a year to 34 and that motives for playing are shifting.

"The fun continues through interactive games, but the research shows that games increasingly serve other uses.
"Australians are playing for social connectedness, whether that be with family or friends. They're playing to reduce stress, to be challenged, to learn, to keep the mind active, or for physical and mental health benefits."

"Young adults play to help pass time, have fun, and de-stress, whereas older Australians, while also playing for enjoyment and to pass time, report keeping the mind active as a top reason for playing."

The Digital Australia study, which has been running since 2005, also highlights just how social game play has become.

This year's report found only eight per cent of Australians play alone, with the remaining 92 per cent playing with friends, partners, family and strangers online at least once in a while.


Most players share their enjoyment of games with others in the community through various methods.

Seven in 10 Australian players have watched videos and used walkthroughs to help their gameplay and more than a quarter have posted their own videos of gameplay.

"Games are no longer a subculture - everyone plays. We've moved far beyond the classic clichés that dogged video games in their early years," said Dr Brand.

Xbox One X
Xbox One X

Xbox Australia research finds rise in 'digital bonding'

Separate research from Xbox Australia,  conducted by Telsyte, suggests a rise in 'digital bonding'.
Key stats include:

• 49 per cent of parents claim shared digital experiences have a positive effect on family bond building

• 48 per cent of parents claim shared digital experiences have a positive effect on their relationship with their children

• Amongst Xbox One owners, this figure rose to 62 per cent - suggesting games consoles may have a positive effect on family bonding



• 40 per cent claim that 'digital bonding' is an important part of family life

• Playing videogames (40 per cent) and streaming films or TV (34 per cent) were the two most popular shared digital experiences

• 35 per cent claim they are playing more videogames as a family than the previous year

• Up to 45 per cent of respondents said that gaming created more conversation amongst the family

• Mums are just as likely as Dads to play videogames with their kids


The study found  56 per cent of parents with 13 to 15-year-old children and 62 per cent of parents with 16 to 17-year-old children highlighted shared digital bonding experiences are important for the family.

According to Telsyte, 44 per cent of Australians claim the Internet is the main way they source entertainment content, and parenting is also shifting with this move to a more digital lifestyle.

The most popular activities amongst these families include playing videogames together (40%), and streaming films or TV (34%).

Jeremy Hinton, Business Group Lead for Xbox Australia commented: "It's clear that families around Australia are turning to technology to help facilitate quality time together.

"Whether it's streaming their favourite TV show, or bonding through a shared experience in a videogame, digital entertainment has the power to create long-lasting memories and bring generations together."

Half of all parents surveyed (48%) claimed that taking part in a shared digital experience had a positive impact on their relationship with their children, which increases to 62 per cent for families that own an Xbox One.

"As children continue to grow up with technology at their fingertips and families increasingly turn to digital experiences, it's important for Xbox to support this trend in shared experiences and help bring families together in a safe and inclusive way,'' Hinton said.

" We're continuing to make Xbox the best place for all entertainment needs as well as the most inclusive online environment we can through Xbox Live.

"Through regular updates to parental controls and safety features, options like the new Copilot mode, new accessibility settings and features such as Clubs, ensure you have the option to play with like-minded individuals in a safe online environment," Hinton added.

News Corp Australia

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