The ESA just released this very interesting study Mom Gamers Study: A New Generation of Gamer that says that 74% of Mothers today play video games and most of them do so on a mobile device of some sort (Smartphone most likely). Mothers today are also more likely to be playing a game at least once a week (and most play every day).
What I also found important is that the the majority of them (71%) also indicate that they closely monitor the video game content of their children and that 56% of gaming Mom’s agree that they video gaming can be a family activity.
I think this is potentially a critical shift in the relationship of Parenting and Video Games. There are still a lot of influential people who consider video games as generally bad, especially for children. I disagree with this view but I won’t go into this debate today as I and many others have argued previously that there are benefits in playing video games for children which has become a common discussion topic these days. What I have also said is that one can never expect any sort of medium (TV and Video Games included) to replace Parenting and this shift of Mothers as active video game players who can also effectively monitor/play video games together with their kids is important as it could finally indicate a bridging of generations rather than a widening generation gap which has been the general trend so far.
Only if Parents actually play video games will they understand it and therefore be able to correctly assess and appreciate their children’s video game play time for all the right reasons. I remember when I was answering questions in a parenting conference (Organized by Dr. Louise Porter) not too long ago it became clear to me that it was difficult for them to assess what was suitable for their child because they were unfamiliar with Video Games in general. Imagine if you had to try to determine the appropriate reading materials for your child but you were illiterate? Perhaps an exaggerated example but it’s in the same ballpark. If you don’t play video games at all or try to play together with your child, how will you ever understand why kids (and adults) are so fascinated with it?
The trend is clear. For all the parents who are not yet playing Video Games, apparently you are now in the minority so get moving and start playing games with your Kids if you want to get to know them better!