Thirty-five percent of American parents say they play computer and video games, according to an unprecedented national survey released today by the Entertainment
Software Association (ESA) and conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates. Among these "gamer parents", 80% report that they play video games with their children, and two-thirds (66%) feel that playing games has brought their families closer together.
"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."
Gamer parents (defined as parents who play computer and video games but do not solely play desktop card or children’s games), were also found to
be regular voters and have strong views about government regulation of games. 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. A vast majority (85 percent) of all voter parents (both gamer and non-gamer) say that they — not
government, retailers, or game publishers –should take the most responsibility in monitoring childrens’ exposure to games that may have content that is inappropriate for minors.
Further, by a nearly two to one margin (60% vs. 36%) 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. "This research suggests that proposals to regulate video games may backfire with American voters who, unlike some elected officials, appear to fully understand that they should control the entertainment that comes into their homes," Lowenstein said.