New research released has revealed that Australian parents are increasingly looking to digital entertainment such as videogames or streaming services to build family ties, with 1 in 2 (49%) parents claiming these shared experiences have a positive effect on family bond building.
The study, commissioned by Xbox and conducted by Telsyte, reveals that digital bonding activities such as playing videogames or streaming movies together are growing with 40 per cent of parents claiming that -digital bonding' is an important part of family life. This increases for parents with older children, with 56 per cent of parents with 13 to 15-year-old children and 62 per cent of parents with 16 to 17-year-old children highlighting shared digital bonding experiences are important for the family. According to Telsyte, 44 per cent of Australians claim the Internet is the main way they source entertainment content, and parenting is also shifting with this move to a more digital lifestyle.
The most popular activities amongst these families include playing videogames together (40%), and streaming films or TV (34%). A shared digital experience in 40 per cent of Australian parental households, playing videogames together is one of the fastest growing activities, with around a third (35%) claiming they are doing it more often than the previous year.
Jeremy Hinton, Business Group Lead for Xbox Australia commented: 'It's clear that families around Australia are turning to technology to help facilitate quality time together. Whether it's streaming their favourite TV show, or bonding through a shared experience in a videogame, digital entertainment has the power to create long-lasting memories and bring generations together."
Half of all parents surveyed (48%) claimed that taking part in a shared digital experience had a positive impact on their relationship with their children, which increases to 62 per cent for families that own an Xbox One. Meanwhile, 45 per cent of respondents that play videogames, and the 24% that play mobile games/apps together, say that digital activities have created more conversation amongst the family. In addition, nearly a third of parents (31%) say they would either start playing or play games more often with their children, to further encourage family bonding.
'As children continue to grow up with technology at their fingertips and families increasingly turn to digital experiences, it's important for Xbox to support this trend in shared experiences and help bring families together in a safe and inclusive way. We're continuing to make Xbox the best place for all entertainment needs as well as the most inclusive online environment we can through Xbox Live. Through regular updates to parental controls and safety features, options like the new Copilot mode, new accessibility settings and features such as Clubs3, ensure you have the option to play with like-minded individuals in a safe online environment," Hinton added.
The research highlights that age or generation has an influence on the shared digital experiences you are most likely to take part in. Parents of millennials/Gen Y kids are most likely to take part in videogames, streaming and browsing YouTube, whilst those bonding between Generation X and baby boomers within the family are more likely to browse the Internet together or connect on social media. Additionally, mums (45%) are just as likely to turn to videogames as dads (55%), whilst the average age of the parent gamer was 42 with the most popular genres including action, sports and puzzles. More than half of families with Xbox Ones (54%) also played online games with their children.
Question: Can you provide some insight into the recent research conducted by Telsyte?
Jeremy Hinton: Telsyte was commissioned by Xbox Australia to conduct custom research as part of its broader Digital Consumer Study for 2017. The focus of this custom research was to look at what's happening within Australian family households when it comes to digital entertainment and how those experiences help to build and foster family bonds. Sample size was 395 Australian family households, as part of a custom study conducted with Telsyte's Digital Consumer Study 2017 survey respondents.
Question: Was this an increase in Xbox statistics?
Jeremy Hinton: This was the first time anyone has looked into this topic, so unfortunately there is no previous research or Xbox statistics we can reference specifically.
Question: How are families turning to digital entertainment to build family ties?
Jeremy Hinton: Playing videogames together (40 percent) and streaming films and TV together (34 per cent) are two of the most popular shared digital experiences with families in Australia. Parents of millennials/Gen Y kids are most likely to take part in videogames while bonding between Generation X and baby boomers within the family are more likely to browse the Internet together or connect on social media. Mums (45%) are just as likely to turn to videogames as dads (55%).
Question: What is digital bonding?
Jeremy Hinton: Digital bonding refers to the interactions and shared experiences families enjoy through digital technology, including video games, streaming, internet, mobile etc.
Question: Why do you believe there has been a rise in digital bonding?
Jeremy Hinton: What the research found was that 40 per cent of parents claim 'digital bonding" is an important part of their family's lives. With 44 per cent of Australians saying the internet is their main source of entertainment, we're seeing parenting shifting with this move to a more digital lifestyle.
Question: Can you provide examples as to how families can share digital experiences?
Jeremy Hinton: Streaming their favourite TV show, via services such as Netflix or Stan is a popular response, with one in three respondents partaking. Forty per cent of respondents said playing videogames together was another popular method of sharing entertainment.
To that last point, Xbox offers parents with young children what's called 'Co-pilot mode", which links two controllers so you can use them as if they were one controller. Once linked, both controllers have full control and enable new shared gameplay experiences between friends and family, new accessibility options and better collaboration.
Question: What are the positive effects digital experiences have on families?
Jeremy Hinton: Almost half (45%) of respondents said playing videogames together generated more conversation amongst the family, helping to bring them closer together.
Question: What do parents need to be aware of when introducing their children to digital experiences?
Jeremy Hinton: First and foremost, parents should educate their kids about staying safe online.
We encourage parents to play an active role in their children's online activities via three important things: Use of advanced parental control settings available on devices and gaming platforms; talking with kids about their online activities, and; setting clear household online rules for their families.
Question: Can you suggest some family-friends games for Xbox One?
Jeremy Hinton: Work together to create a whole world for your family in Minecraft, where everyone in the family chooses a role and playing in split screen, you start from scratch and have to build the ultimate home in one hour. Have one person play the builder, one the miner and one the harvester. This helps to ensure everyone has a role to play and can teach important social skills around working together, collaboration and sharing. Mix it up regularly so everyone gets a chance to try something new.
Go co-op in Lego Batman to save the city of Gotham, play together, collaborate to solve puzzles and fight crime. Try playing in co-op with two players, select your favourite character from the Batman universe, like Batman and the Joker, and work together to fight crime and solve the riddles of Gotham. Communicating and working together is the key to finding each Lego "stud", the game's form of currency, location the hidden items and finishing the game.
Set up the ultimate family tournament in FIFA 2017, select your team, the stadium and your favourite players, then battle it out to take the family crown. Setting a tournament is easy in FIFA 2017, follow the prompts from the main screen and let everyone in the family choose their favourite teams. Take to the field to see who's the best and test your skills against each other to find the ultimate winner in the family or among friends.
Interview by Brooke Hunter