Parents have spent an additional five hours a week playing video games with their kids in recent months – as a way to stay connected.

A study of 2,000 mums and dads found six in 10 have enjoyed gaming sessions with their children, playing the likes of Fortnite and FIFA – becoming closer as a result.

And a tenth have actually picked up a joystick or joypad for the first time in their lives in order share quality time with their youngsters.

While 56 per cent have upped the amount of time they’ve spent playing games with their offspring in recent months.

Ria Rianti, spokesperson for Cadbury Heroes, which commissioned the research, said: “Now more than ever, families are looking for opportunities to connect, and we believe it’s the little things that can help bring us together – like sharing a hobby or learning a new skill.

“Getting involved in something parents may feel has left them behind – such as video games – is a great way to show children that their interests have value.

“With our research showing families have used gaming as a way to connect throughout lockdown and beyond, we wanted to inspire even more families to unlock a little connection.”

The study also found parents’ attitudes towards video games changed during periods of heavy lockdown.

Despite computer games often being seen as a negative influence on children, 60 per cent admitted their offspring would have struggled more with the lockdown and lack of socialising without them.

And 57 per cent also reported their children see them as more ‘fun’ when they play games on the computer together.

While three in 10 confessed that before lockdown, they didn’t make enough time to do things which their children enjoyed – like playing games.

As a result, a quarter said their perceptions of gaming in general have improved since spending more time on the hobby.

Four in 10 now consider this activity to be a great way to improve hand-eye coordination or boost problem-solving skills.

Other benefits noticed by parents include enhanced multitasking skills (27 per cent), memory improvement (28 per cent) and better social skills (18 per cent).

Just under half of those polled (48 per cent) even said they’re more relaxed about their children’s use of computer games now, and less likely to restrict usage compared to pre-lockdown.

One in five families also said this new bonding experience has brought grandparents further into the fold, according to the OnePoll research.

Proving gaming isn’t just for kids, Bridget Odlin, a 76 year old gamer from Louth, Lincolnshire, said: “Gaming has always been a passion of mine and something I have enjoyed with my kids and now my grandkids.

“It’s so important to stay connected with your family and there’s definitely no age limit on having fun – gaming allows me to bond and spend time with each of my grandkids – 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.“

Ria Rianti added: “To celebrate video games bringing families closer together, we have created the Cadbury Heroes League.

“It’s an online tournament where celebrities and gaming influencers train up their relatives to make the ultimate team.”

To have the chance to be featured in the tournament broadcast, visit @CadburyUK on Instagram [https://www.instagram.com/cadburyuk/?hl=en ].

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