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It's no secret that lockdown has been incredibly tough for all of us. Being unable to visit with family - especially elderly relatives - during the past several months has been a complete nightmare. Fortunately, we've all found our own ways to keep in touch and stay connected: weekly Zoom quizzes, virtual movie nights... or even getting nan and grandad into gaming in ways you'd never expected before.
As I'm sure most of us already suspected based on the last few months, there's been a noticeably positive shift in attitude towards online gaming from parents and slightly older folk who might previously have taken issue with it.
According to a new study commissioned by Cadbury Heroes, over half (58%) of families now use video games as a way to bring them closer together. Moreover, an impressive six in ten parents acknowledged their child would have really struggled without the social space afforded by playing online with friends and relatives, and 56% of parents are spending more time than ever before gaming with their kids.
Dr Lynn Love, Lecturer in Computer Arts at Abertay University, supported the study. She explained that gaming "can promote connections between players beyond the play experience by giving them something in common - a shared interest" as well as promoting overall wellness.
"Gaming can be a fantastic tool that the entire family can benefit from, helping older members connect with some of the young gamers in their lives through shared experiences," she continued. "My research shows that videogames can play an important role in helping individuals to feel connected, and that a little more playfulness in our everyday lives can have positive benefits which expand beyond the game into the real world."
But it's not just parents who are really starting to see the appeal of gaming. According to the study, one in five grandparents have started joining in on the fun, whether that's to play with family or explore virtual worlds all of their own. Earlier this week, in fact, we reported on a 65-year-old gamer who's absolutely fallen in love with Red Dead Redemption 2. A week or so before that, there was a 63-year-old who had just started her second playthrough of Assassin's Creed Origins. All of these stories serve as a reminder that gaming is for everyone, and we love to see it.
"Gaming has always been a passion of mine and something I have enjoyed with my kids, and now grandkids," explained Bridget Odlin, a 76-year-old gaming 'G'Ma' from Lincolnshire.
"My grandchildren don't see me as old and won't have me called granny or grandma, they call me G'ma. It's so important to stay connected with your family and there's definitely no age limit on having fun. I have a lot of grandkids and it allows me to bond and spend time with each of them - they often come round to play games with me, and I often win! I've even used gaming to connect with friends, and now my husband, I have got him hooked and we play lots of games together at home and on holiday."
This heartwarming study is in aid of a new initiative from Cadbury Heroes. 'Heroes League is a new gaming tournament in which celebrities like Roman Kemp and Jordan Banjo train their relatives to compete against each other in multiplayer games. If you're interested in finding out more, or want to get involved yourself, you can head here.
Featured Image Credit: Cadbury Heroes