In a country that is dominated by digital TV and internet-enabled devices, the people who are spending most of their time on the couch are probably the kids.
And while a growing number of parents are opting for virtual entertainment, a new report suggests they may be spending far more time on screens than they used to.
Key points:Research shows that while most people spend less time on their screens than before, a growing proportion of Australians are gamingSource: ABC News, AFR Weekend article For a growing percentage of Australians, video gaming has become their primary form of entertainment.
While most Australians spend less than five minutes a day on their smartphones and computers, a significant minority of them are gaming more than three hours a day.
What’s the biggest factor behind this shift?
“It’s about how much time we’re spending on the internet,” said Andrew Koss, a researcher with the University of Sydney.
“A lot of kids are not online when they’re in primary school or university, so we’re also missing out on the opportunity to spend time in a virtual environment.”
Research by the Australian Research Council has shown that while a majority of people spend a significant amount of time on mobile devices, a greater proportion of them use their smartphones more than a third of the time.
While it is common for adults to use their mobile phones for video games, the study has shown a growing trend for young people to use them for gaming.
“They’re playing online games, they’re watching television, they use social media, they talk to friends on the go,” Mr Koss said.
“We’re missing out in that virtual environment where you’re interacting with people who you may not be able to reach online.”
The thing is, if you look at some of these kids, they actually use social networks as a way to interact with other people.
“While the research has shown some kids are doing a lot more gaming than they did before, research shows that a growing share of Australians play video games at home.
Mr Koss’s research has found that the average gaming time spent on mobile is nearly five minutes.”
You can have your game on for five minutes, you can get an hour of game time, and it’s a really significant amount, so it’s very important to think about what is it that you’re doing and what are you really going to do when you’re done,” he said.
For most people, the majority of time they spend on the computer is spent playing games, but a growing minority spend more time in virtual environments, including virtual reality (VR) and virtual reality-equipped homes.”
If you look back over the last decade or so, we’ve seen a big increase in the number of kids and adults in their early 20s playing virtual reality, and the amount of people who play VR has increased significantly,” Mr Tuckett said.
The research shows the majority spend around four hours a week playing video games.”
It could be something as simple as a smartphone, a tablet or laptop and that’s about 10 hours a month,” Mr Pascall said.