A new study shows that video games have played an essential role in the social life of adolescents during periods of confinement. If prejudices die hard, attitudes are gradually changing.
This is a study that may appeal to video game enthusiasts. We have known for at least two years that the video game sector has taken full advantage of the health crisis, but we now learn that it has helped adolescents. The “Perception and practice of video games” study, carried out by Ifop for HyperX, reveals that video games have played an essential role in the social life of adolescents during periods of confinement.
The image of video games has evolved considerably in recent years, but clichés or prejudices die hard. While it takes more and more place within families, the views on video games are gradually changing. This is also confirmed by the results of this study, which focuses on the habits of adolescents aged 13 to 17 and their parents.
A family activity
Among the main findings of the study, we discover that 94% of adolescents play at least occasionally (91% of girls and 97% of boys). It also confirms that the practice of video games is not reserved for teenagers; since 81% of parents claim to play regularly. A majority of parents (58%) also play with their teenagers (mainly fathers who are 67% to do so, against 49% of mothers).
Another interesting point, gaming would help strengthen ties in families. A majority (76%) of parents playing video games with their teenagers believe they have become closer to them, the study says. Clinical psychologist specializing in digital practices, Vanessa Lalo explains that “This survey shows that the place of video games in the family is progressing and that parents are more and more inclined to play with their children”. “The perception of video games is changing positively, even if parents are still cautious on certain points (time spent, impact on health, etc.). Nevertheless, thanks to the enthusiasm of the youngest, the majority of parents are encouraged to share video game activities with the family, offering parents the possibility of better appropriating this hobby and therefore better supporting their teenagers with these media.she adds.
A sports practice according to teenagers
The video game confirms that it does not enjoy the same image with parents and adolescents. 42% of them consider the practice of video games as a sporting activity. Parents are far from sharing this opinion (18%).
Gaming, vector of social bond?
On the other hand, the video game confirms that it is an important player in the social bond. A large majority of teenagers (71%) see football as a social activity, almost as much as football (78%). An opinion shared by nearly half of parents (42%), the study says.
An important role during containment
The rise of video games has been reinforced during the various confinements. However, the practice of gaming gave rise to “apprehensions” at the parents. “65% of parents whose teenager is a gamer had them before their teenager started this activity, and only 7% of parents encouraged their teenager to play more video games during periods of confinement”says the survey.
However, the fact of playing video games seems to have made it possible to better support this period, thus favoring the maintenance of the link with those around him. The study ensures that 63% of adolescents believe that video games have allowed them to stay in touch with their friends and 74% believe that gaming has allowed them to better manage periods of confinement. This opinion is shared by 61% of parents who mention a positive impact of this activity on the well-being of their teenager during this period.
“Following successive confinements and curfews, we have been able to observe that parents are gradually changing their view of video games, no longer seeing it as a single object of family conflict but also as a vector of social bonding and well-being. -to be psychological for their children, in this exceptional period of pandemic having deprived us of our ordinary social, school, professional, cultural habits.explains Vanessa Lalo. “Many families have therefore been able to find the time to get together, to talk about their mutual interests, and this is how video games have naturally imposed themselves as a subject of family discussion and a sharing activity. »
Diverse and varied benefits
“The WHO has also supported the #PlayApartTogether movement to help maintain social ties despite the physical distance imposed by the pandemic”she says. “Popular culture par excellence among adolescents, video games are a way to meet up with friends, discuss and belong to a group, essential elements in the construction of young people. And this, the parents have understood. Most consider that video games have allowed their children to better cope with periods of confinement and to stay in touch with their friends. »
Finally, we learn that entertainment is the main benefit of video games for both teenagers and parents (91% for each group). However, other benefits emerge and nearly 4 out of 10 teenagers (38%) consider that gaming contributes to improving their mental health. They are also 39% to think that their practice reduces their level of stress (compared to 18% and 24% of parents respectively). Finally, a third of parents (30%) and teenagers (31%) say that gaming promotes learning to solve problems.
“Yet being the first cultural industry in the world, the video game still suffers from a negative image among some parents of age to have teenagers. This image tends to change with the new generations of parents, being themselves players.notes Vanessa Lalo. “The survey figures also indicate that among gamer parents, and particularly men, the perception of video games is clearly different and much more perceived as a sporting, social and beneficial activity for health and mental health. . »
What should we think of this study?
The results of this survey are interesting in many respects. They confirm once again that video games are at the heart of family life, taking up more and more space. Nevertheless, it should be noted that this study was carried out by Ifop for HyperX. The latter is none other than a brand of gaming peripheral owned by HP, in particular specialized in e-sport.
We therefore decided to look at the results of other studies, such as the “Cultural Practices” survey carried out by Credoc at the request of the Ministry of Culture. She confirms that there is indeed a before and after confinement for the world of gaming; with progression in women or older individuals. Finally, all social categories tend to increase their use of video games.