This study explores the effects of video games on children’s play and their understanding of social norms. The study is based on the premise that play is a fundamental part of children’s development and thus their appreciation of the world around them will be heavily influenced by the ways in which they play.
To explore this premise the researcher used mixed-methods with a principally qualitative approach. The study consisted of a questionnaire delivered to both parents and children in school years Five and Six (aged ten to 11 years) designed to capture the amount of time and the times of day both children, and their parents, participate in video game play. A two-part interview with eight children aged nine-ten followed the questionnaires. This was designed to
explore the children’s experiences with video game play in greater detail. The interview included a creative element in the form of a sand tray where children could play out their favourite video game and three semi-structured questions centred on children’s use and views of video games.
The research has formed the premise for further research on a much larger scale. The sample size was too small to be significant in this research but drew the researcher’s attention to many possibilities. The research started to observe the enormity of the extent in which children play video games and how it not only predominates their discretionary time but also delves into their non-discretionary time. Parental involvement was ambiguous. The research showed that children are faced with many conflicting suggestions about the world.
Further research would explore other types of play children access in relation to video game play and whether or not they have the ability to make sense of the world around them through their play.