Family Fun and Fostering Values

Family Fun and Fostering Values

J. Alison Bryant (PlayScience, USA) and Jordana Drell (Nickelodeon/MTV Networks, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-845-6.ch011
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Abstract

This chapter looks at the interplay between video and computer games and values discourse within families. The authors focus on the theoretical models for values discourse within families; the role that video games can play in values discourse within the family; the role that both research and design have in the game creation process; and the future opportunities for engaging values and ethics discourse within the family context through gaming.
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Introduction

Over the past two decades, much has been said about the role of media, especially television, in family life and communication. Of all of the media that are part of the home ecology, video and computer games have had the least attention in the family communication context. Moreover, the reports that have been published have mixed findings or perspectives on the valence of role games play. Some reports have focused on how games can alienate family members from one another (Williams, 2006); whereas others (particularly early on in the game studies field) pointed to the positive, or at least neutral, effects on having a game system in the home on family interactions, particularly as a space for additional interaction between family members (Mitchell, 1984; Mitchell, 1985; Murphy, 1984). None of the previous work in this area, however, discusses the role of these games in the values discourse among family members. Because of the growing use of computer and video games by all family members, from preschoolers to grandparents, it is important that we pay more attention to these media.

This chapter will look at theoretical models for values discourse within families, including family systems, symbolic interaction, family rituals, and social cognitive perspectives. Next, we will use these theoretical perspectives to outline the five key elements that need to be addressed when designing games for families. Finally, we will review future opportunities for engaging values and ethics discourse within the family context through gaming.

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