Washington: A new research has suggested that Facebook games may actually do some good by breaking down both communication and age barriers within the family.
Research at Concordia University showed that social network games (SNGs) like CityVille, which are being played multi-generationally within families, beyond being a fun distraction, they can offer family members a meaningful way to interact and meet social obligations.
Senior author Mia Consalvo said that maintaining those connections is especially important as families find themselves dispersed across countries and continents and SNGs give families a convenient and cheap way to transcend geographical boundaries.
They found that these online games offer families a common topic of conversation and enhance the quality of time spent together, despite the fact that most SNGs don't necessarily involve any direct communication.
The games can also bring together family members who may be only distantly connected, with respondents citing experiences such as connecting with long-lost cousins or bolstering relationships with aging aunts.
Researcher Kelly Boudreau said it's not just siblings in their early 20s using SNGs to connect, grandfathers are playing online games with granddaughters, mothers with sons and so these multi-generational interactions prove social networks are tools that break down both communication and age barriers.
The study is published in Information, Communication and Society.