If you're looking to get along better with your kids, maybe it's time to fire up the games console that's sitting under your TV. Rather than being an exclusive activity for shut-in nerds, there's now even more data to support the theory that digital bonding — spending time sharing an experience around a game or streaming a movie together — helps build family ties.
More families (40 per cent of the survey's respondents) play games with parents and children together than streaming TV shows or movies (34 per cent). More than a third of parents also say they're gaming more with their kids than they were a year ago. It also increases as the children in a household get older — nearly two thirds of parents with 16- to 17-year-old children bond with them digitally, compared to 56 per cent of parents with 13- to 15-year-olds.
Research conducted by Telsyte for Xbox Australia shows that game consoles may have an even higher positive effect on family bonding, with 62 per cent of parents in an Xbox household versus 49 per cent talking about shared digital experiences more generally. Nearly half of all survey respondents that play video games say that they've created more conversation within their families.
You're most likely to already know this if you're a parent of a Gen Y kid or a millennial, but even Gen Xers and their boomer parents bond digitally — just over social media or by browsing the 'net together. And the gender split isn't what you think it might be, either: mums turn to video games for family bonding nearly as much as dads (45 per cent versus 55 per cent). The average age of the parent gamer in Australia is 42, says Telsyte.
Here's a summary of the data collected for Xbox:
- 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