Here are a few stats from my research on parents and video games copied directly from my dissertation. This post will be the first of several where I talk about my ethnography and the results of my study.
There were 46 total participants in 30 interviews representing 26 households. As defined in Chapter One, a household represents parents who participated alone as well as those who participated together (in the same interview or separately). This singular unit was created to avoid inflation of the numbers where two parents were talking about their shared children and home environments, as that would skew the numbers against those where only one parent participated. Of the participants, 11 were children and 35 were parents. The 35 parents represented 39 qualifying children in total including the 11 who contributed. Of the 35 participating parents, 18 were mothers and 17 were fathers. The parents spanned in ages from 25 to 55. The youngest child participant was 4 and the oldest was 16.
This study afforded opportunities for additional analyses, given the rich qualitative data collected throughout the interviews. Each section below provides this additional information as a way to give context to the research participants and better understand their relationship with video games.
Over 200 games were mentioned throughout the course of the interviews, not including the various versions of multiple game franchises. The top three most mentioned games were Minecraft (85% of households), followed by Grand Theft Auto (65%), and then World of Warcraft (42%). Almost two-thirds (64%) of the 39 children played M-rated games and over three-quarters (77%) played T-rated games. None of the children in the study were old enough to purchase M-rated games and only 31% of the 39 children were old enough to purchase T-rated games.
Video Game Devices
Participants played console, computer, and mobile/tablet games equally (88%). Handheld games (58%), followed by web-based (38%), and then educational (35%) rounded out the list. Over three quarters of all 26 households (77%) used some sort of cloud gaming services such as Steam, Origin, Xbox Live, or PlayStation Network. All households downloaded games digitally, whereas only about three-quarters (77%) still bought physical game media.
Video Game Spaces
The majority of game spaces (58%) were publicly shared spaces with the family. Very few (8% of all households) had completely private spaces where stationary devices such as computer towers or consoles were located in children’s rooms. The remaining households (35%) had mixed game spaces due to the use of portable electronics such as laptops, handhelds, and mobile/tablet devices. The majority of households (69%) had some sort of time restrictions placed on video game play; however, less than half of them (39%) considered them to be strict rules.
An overwhelming majority of the 26 households (92%) performed some sort of assessment on video games before their children were allowed to play them. Almost all of the 26 households (92%) discussed video game content with their children, and most (85%) stated they knew their children to self-regulate and/or they trusted their children to only play the games of which they knew their parents approved.
Almost three-quarters of the 26 households (73%) watched their children play video games and many (69%) played video games with their children. Over half (54%) of the 26 households allowed their children access to the Internet to either play online video games such as massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG i.e., World of Warcraft) which can only be played online, or to play standard multiplayer video games with others online.
You can read about the key findings here. Answers to my specific research questions will be in a different post.