Gaming brings families together, survey shows

Computer games – often cited as destroyers of family life – are in fact encouraging more ‘we-time’, a new survey shows.

According to a Memorex survey, playing video games is the third most popular ‘we-time’ activity in families, with 42 percent playing together every few days. This compares with 86 percent for watching television or movies and 49 percent for cooking, baking or grilling.

Communal gaming is more popular than reading or listening to books, which scored 41 percent, or listening, singing or dancing to music, at 39 percent.

“Our survey shows parents – particularly the younger generation – have embraced consumer electronics and created a complimentary role for the products in their family’s life,” Jess Walton, Memorex global brand director, said. “The concept of we-time hasn’t changed, but the tools families use to bring we-time to life have evolved.”

Video gaming is now a favorite activity among both parents and children, with two thirds of children and three-fifths of parents playing some type of video game every few days.

Few adults seem to mind their kids’ gaming, with four out of five saying video games are conducive to we-time. Of families who own a video game console, 88 percent play video games together.

“We’ve seen a rapid shift in family attitudes toward consumer electronics in the past year, since we first conducted the we-time survey,” Walton said. “Fortunately, it’s a positive shift that involves families embracing new technology in order to spend more quality time together.”

The survey found that younger parents, aged 25 to 34, are more likely than older ones to use video game accessories several times a day, use social networks or photo sharing websites to store digital photos and listen to internet radio or an MP3 player.