Thirty-five percent of American parents say they play computer and video games, according to a national survey released today by the video game trade body Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates.
Among these “gamer parents”, according to the ESA's statement, 80% report that they play video games with their children, and two-thirds (66%) feel that playing games has brought their families closer together. The ESA is attempting to define 'gamer parents' as those who play computer and video games, but do not solely play desktop card or children’s games), and in doing so, makes some strong statements in its survey results regarding legislative regulation of games, something the trade body is notably against.
According to the ESA, three-quarters (73%) of gamer parents say they are regular voters, with party affiliation at 36% Democrat and 35% Republican, similar to the overall national averages, and 85 percent of all voter parents (both gamer and non-gamer) say that they should take the most responsibility in monitoring childrens’ exposure to games that may have content that is inappropriate for minors, as opposed to retailers or governments.
Finally, according to the ESA, 60% of parents agree that it is not the role of government to regulate game sales in an attempt to protect kids from exposure to violent and/or sexual video game content. However, 36% of those responding believe that it is the government's role, showing at least some controversy over the issue.
The new study also revealed that the typical 'gamer parent' is 37 years old, and almost half of this group (47%) are women, parent gamers most often play card games (34%), followed by puzzle, board and “game show” games (26%), sports games (25%) action games (20%), strategy games (20%) and downloadable games (18%), and the typical “gamer parent” has been playing games for an average of 13 years, with one-third reporting having played for 20 years or more.
In addition, the average gamer parent spends 19 hours a month playing games. Gamer parents with child gamers in their households spend 9.1 hours a month playing games with their kids. Eighty-five percent of the children of gamer parents also play computer and video games themselves. Thirty-six percent of gamer parents introduced their children to games, while a quarter (23 percent) of gamer parents began playing because their children were playing. Twenty-seven percent of parents and children starting playing games around the same time. This survey, conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc., in November, 2005, sampled 501 nationally representative parents who have children between the ages of 2 and 17 in their households.
“This first-ever study of ‘gamer parents’ dramatizes the increasing and positive role that video games play in American family entertainment," said Douglas Lowenstein, president of the ESA, the trade group representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. “The data provide further evidence dispelling the myth that game playing is dominated by teens and single twenty-somethings. It tells us that parents see games both as an enjoyable activity on their own, and one that allows them to engage with their children as well."