Meeting Friends in My Safety Lounge

Join this study into online social games for older adults

My Safety Lounge

Online games have been used extensively among younger generations as they provide opportunities for enjoyment, physical and mental stimulation, and even socialisation. We associate online gaming with youth, and it might seem unlikely that older people would embrace online games. However, in Australia, 39% of people over 65 years old play online games. Previous studies show that online games can increase social interactions with family and friends but also provide the possibility of making new friendships. For those who are in the gaming world these friendships are comparable to real life friendships.

Socialisation among older adults is especially important at a time when opportunities for social participation may decrease and may affect people’s health. Online socialisation can be particularly empowering for those who experience barriers leaving the home, such as those whose mobility is limited. For these older adults, online games can provide a conduit for connecting with peers, family or even with new friends from the safety of their lounges.

A study at The University of Melbourne’s Microsoft Research Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces is looking for players over 65 years old who are playing online games with other people. The purpose of the study is to learn from the players’ expertise in order to design technologies that support socialising in online games. The study involves a 1-hour face-to-face interview and discussion of the online gaming experience.

If you are interested in participating in this study or know someone who might be, please share this information with them:

This research is conducted by the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, and the National Ageing Research Institute. This project has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of Melbourne. HREC ID number 1646915.1.e

[Source: Jenny Waycott & Romina Carrasco]