Mother-Daughter Bonding Through Online Gaming?

by Carissa Rogers

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Driving to piano practice with my 6th grade daughter is one of my favorite events all week. Not quite face-to-face; yet trapped in the car together for 15 WHOLE minutes!

I get a quick peek into her world. Who is she hanging with lately? What’s new in school, why is math getting harder?

My daughter is nearly 12. And since I have a 15-year-old daughter as well, I know what’s coming. Soon her teen-zombie brain will take over. Soon she’ll be busy from sun up till sun down every day.

But not yet. She’s still willing to cuddle next to me with a good book. She’s still willing to share the ups and downs of her day. And I’m determined to find ways to enjoy this time!

One surprising way to spend quality time with your daughter is to go gaming with her?!  (Who knew?) A study from Brigham Young University shows that interaction with daughters while playing online or video games can actually benefit them and boost your relationship.

So I’ve been trying it lately with my 6th grader. She isn’t all that interested in action type video games (although the whole family plays a mean game of bowling on Family Game Night!). But she is ALL over cooking, art and fashion types of online games.

A recent favorite game from GirlsGoGames.com is called "Shopaholic: Model." We dress up each model, and create albums of new fashion trends! It’s not like we’re studying rocket science but sitting side by side dreaming up new outfits together is great bonding time.

  • “We should add a party background, she’s going to a party!”
  • “Ooooh they have a heart background!”
  • “It doesn’t look good with tights, but it would be perfect without.”
  • “Let’s change to the short brown hair!”

 

These are quotes from my daughter while playing online together.  We only have about 15 minutes total before someone else needs my attention. Or the pasta boils over or homework wrangling is in order. Those few minutes I steal with her are already becoming less and less frequent.

There was a 20 percent increase in "positive indicators" noticed during the girls gaming study - including an increased feeling of being connected to family. "Any face-to-face time you have with your child can be a positive thing," says the study's co-author Laura Padilla-Walker, "especially if the activity is something the child is interested in." (The study showed less benefit for boys playing with parents.)

Other studies have shown that video games boost brainpower, increase eye strength and even benefit the heart.  Plus moms are playing more and more online games according to Harris Interactive.  (However more working women are playing these games compared to stay at home moms.)

Makes me think moms could be spending quality time with their daughters in many different ways; from car chats to 15 minutes of gaming fun.

What ways do you connect with your tween daughter?

Carissa works with GirlsGoGames.com testing new games with her daughter and sharing feedback.

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