For Your Family: Casual Gamer Moms

February 27, 2012 4:10:14 AM PST
In this For Your Family, we're looking at the dramatic rise of the number of casual gamers who are moms.

That's right, not just teens and 20-something men, moms are taking control of game consoles and apps.

National parenting expert and author of the mom book CEO of Mom Central, Stacy Debroff joined ABC7 with more on this new phenomenon that has caught the gaming industry by surprise.

According to the Mom Central website, 70 percent of casual gamers are now women ages 25-54.


Moms' Dramatic Rise as Casual Gamers

Step aside teenagers and 20-something men as Moms take control of game consoles and apps for some good new-fashioned escapist entertainment. Approximately 70 percent of casual gamers are now women, with the majority of them between the ages of 25 and 54. The huge numbers of Mom casual players indulging in simple games via apps or on social networking sites have caught the gaming industry by surprise - tossing out long-standing stereotypes.

A new Mom Central survey of 1,200 Moms found that Moms play computer, online, mobile and video games by themselves an average of 5 hours a week, and spend an additional 3 hours a week playing these types of games with their kids.

Why Do Moms Love Them?
Casual games are typically short-quick to play and easy to pause. You can quickly stop a casual game and then easily pick it back up later. They're easy to learn, free to try, and inexpensive.

Mom's Time-Out
Moms seek new ways to take a breather during their constant on-the-go lifestyles. So they've started carving out a Mom-version of the "time-out" - a brief respite of 5 to 15 minutes to slow down and zone out. Amidst packed, stressful days, Moms increasingly turn to games to relax - discovering that their ever-present phones, iPads, laptops, or computers serve as the ideal vehicle for a break in the action. Casual games - easy to pick up as a beginner but difficult to master - can be played in short time spurts, which make them attractive to Moms looking to take a quick break and have some fun.

Stress-Busters for Busy Moms
Casual games provide Moms with a quick outlet - a stolen 10 minutes or so - where they can get lost in the challenging magic of puzzle games like Drop 7 or the New Orleans-themed challenges of Bayou Blast or the social Words with Friends - many times playing with online and offline friends. As such, these games provide Moms with an easy way to unwind while in the midst of a chaotic day.

52 percent of Moms play games at home, 34 percent of Moms regularly play games on their cell phones, and 29 percent of Moms turn to games while waiting for kids or in line at a store. Nothing beats the tedium of a long wait in the grocery store check-out line than a fun game on your cell phone.

Easing Up on End-of-the-Day Duties
Once Moms toss the dishes into the dishwasher, review one more book report, and get the last child bathed and off to bed, they typically keep going, rather than taking a moment to relax. More often than not, Moms will throw in another load of laundry, pack lunches for tomorrow, or log onto work email, instead of opening up a long-awaited novel or picking up the phone and calling a friend. But many Moms find that evening proves an ideal time to curl up with a casual game - the excitement levels of some games keep most Moms from dropping off to sleep the minute they sit down, and the brevity of other games provides a quick breather and some down time before getting ready for another day.

With the physical engagement of Nintendo's Wii and cool, motion-controlled games offered via Kinect for the Xbox 360 and Move for the PlayStation 3, Moms increasingly pick up fitness games like Zumba and family-friendly games like those offered in Wii Sports.

Keeping Casual Gaming from Becoming All-Consuming or Too Costly When gaming lures you away from family responsibilities and work commitments, or you start annoying all your friends on Facebook with requests for carrots, it's a sign that you need to taper off!