Parents across America are recognizing the benefits of their children playing videos games, according to a new study from Sony Online Entertainment. The results, published exclusively in the new November issue of Family Circle magazine, suggest parents are seeing improvements in hand/eye coordination, problem solving and typing skills.
In addition to basic education elements, the survey suggests video games are teaching children to think strategically. The majority of video games require players to follow rules, think tactically, make fast decisions and fulfill numerous objectives to win. This resonates with the 70% of the parents surveyed who have seen their children’s problem-solving skills improve since they started playing video games.
Yahoo!’s website, Shine, which reaches 10 million women each month, hosted the survey throughout June 2008. The study found that 87% of parents who participated in the survey are spending time playing video games with their children. “Family video game nights are becoming incredibly popular with the variety of games out there,” said Linda Fears, editor-in-chief, Family Circle magazine. “Parents and children of all ages are finding games to play together, no matter what each person’s experience level.”
Other key survey findings from the survey:
- Most (75%) of respondents have attributed educational value and improved hand/eye coordination to video game usage.
- 84% of respondents reported an increase in their child’s typing skills from playing PC/online games.
- 72% of respondents say their kids play games online with other people sometimes or all the time.
- More than 80% of respondents say their children play video games in a common area of the house (i.e., family/living room or computer room).
With the vast majority of games on the market rated E for Everyone (ESRB, 2007), parents have many options when choosing games for their children, an important fact for the almost 80% of parents surveyed who say they purchase all their children’s video games. “The ultimate parental controls are parents themselves,” said John Smedley, president of SOE and father of four.
Many games, including the upcoming free online game Free Realms from SOE, offer opportunities for kids to play online with others. “The good news is that parents are involved with and aware of what their kids are playing,” said Smedley. “The even better news is that parents and kids are playing together.”