Parents should be gaming with their children more often. Not only game experts believe that, but children themselves too. Because even though it’s impossible to imagine a child’s life today without gaming, few parents know what’s what. Research by VodafoneZiggo in cooperation with the Erasmus University shows that children find it important to play together with their parents, as they expect their parents to better understand the gaming world as a result.
Almost half the parents never or hardly ever (fewer than once a month) game together with their child. Nor do they look in depth at the games their offspring play. Sixty-five percent of children between 8 and 15 years of age indicate their parents never or hardly ever look for more in-depth information on the games they play.
Jeroen Jansz, game researcher and professor Communication and Media at the Erasmus University “It’s remarkable that nearly half the number of children (47%*) experience their parents are interested in their gaming behaviour. In 2003, we conducted a similar survey and at that time this figure was significantly lower. Then, around 1 in every 3 children indicated that their parents studied the suitability and content of the games in some detail. Parents of today have a better understanding of gaming, but joining in is a next step.”
Collaborating versus isolation
Parents see both positive and negative effects of gaming on their children’s health and well-being. They are afraid, for instance, that children don’t play enough with other kids or develop physical complaints. On the other hand, learning other languages and expanding one’s vocabulary are the most commonly named positive effects. Still, around 60% of the children participating in the survey, indicate that their parents never or hardly ever mention any positive aspects of gaming.
Creating mutual understanding
The digital world is changing fast and VodafoneZiggo wants everyone, young and old, to be able to participate. Gaming is part of this digital world and more popular than ever. Which is why it is important to have family discussions about it. Gaming expert Koen Schobbers, who (with 13 years of experience) provides educational services to, among others, parents and children believes parents should empathize more with their children’s experiences by gaming together with them. For that reason, together with VodafoneZiggo he provides advice and answers to the most frequently asked questions by parents concerning gaming. He also teaches children ‘to game consciously’ in the new lesson of the online teaching programme Online Masters. In this programme, attention is given to creating mutual understanding within the family. Online Masters is a free online teaching programme that teaches children how to navigate the digital world in a safe and conscious manner.