Online Gaming and Parent-Child Relationships

by Qi G

How does online gaming play a role in the parent-child relationship? Parents mostly attach great importance to their children’s spiritual growth, and they like to provide a happy childhood for their offspring. However, cultural impact over different ages creates the generation gap between parents and their children. This study investigates the relationships between online games and happiness, and it aims to help parents understand adolescents’ happiness status and to enhance parent-child relationships. In order to revise the understanding of the traditional negative impression of online games, the study focuses on finding the evidence of the consciousness state which affects adolescents’ happiness, which is called a “flow state.” The flow state can also affect parents’ positive emotions, and this paper hopes that, by sharing the same happy experience by playing online games, its findings will be able to create a new way to improve parent-child relationships.


Online games create happiness when players are in a flow state, and because the flow state can happen in different generations this means that parents could also enjoy online games during leisure time. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi finds that “flow tends to occur when a person faces a clear set of goals that require appropriate responses” (1). Moreover, also demostrates that people actually enjoy flow less at leisure time rather than at work, because people lacking certain goal and feedback from resting(Csikszentmihalyi ,3), but people enjoy the flow of social interaction (Csikszentmihalyi, 4-5). Video games provide people goals, feedback and interaction, which may create more happiness through flow. The data from Choi’s study suggests that the goals, feedback and operation are positively related to personal interaction which are partially beneficial for operation experience (18). Hence, if parent plays online games with children, they can feedback each other and increasing their interaction. Therefore, when parents enjoy the online games with child together, it tends to open up more possibilities for building connections between generations. It could also increase communication between two generations by sharing same happiness experience.

Work Cited

Choi, Dongseong and Jinwoo Kim. “Why People Continue to Play Online Games: In Search of Critical Design Factors to Increase Customer Loyalty to Online Contents”. CyberPsychology & Behavior. 2004, 7(1):11-24. Web. 20 July 2014.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. “Finding Flow”. Psychology Today. 899 (1997): 1-7. Web. 20 July 2014.




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