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Connected Grandparents: Are Smart Toys the Future for Intergenerational Play?


Previous research has described how digital games can enhance interaction between older (55-81 year-olds) and younger (4-22 year-olds) players (see De la Hera et al., 2017 for a review). However, the majority of this research has focused on the use of games consoles (e.g. Aarsand et al., 2007). The way children access digital games has seen huge changes in recent years, with tablet PCs now more popular than games consoles, within the 5 to 15 year-old age range (Ofcom, 2011-2017) and sales of connected toys (also known as smart toys, or IoT toys) expected to triple over the next five years (Juniper Research, 2017). We therefore propose a small-scale study exploring whether the benefits of digital games extend to connected toys. We will employ a mixed methods approach to investigate older people's current attitudes towards connected toys and the effect of these toys on intergenera-tional play between grandparents and grandchildren. This will include a paper-based questionnaire, measuring the attitudes of 50 older people towards digital play, including connected toys. This will indicate whether older people generally have a positive or negative opinion of connected toys, and whether this varies by age, gender, and self-perceived digital literacy. Additionally, we will invite eight grandparents and their grandchildren (aged 8 to 10 years old, to allow for comparison with previous digital game research) to play with a connected toy. As the cooperative element of digital games has been identified as an important feature of the enjoyment for both older and younger parties (De la Hera et al., 2017), we will use a connected toy that encourages this play pattern. These sessions will be recorded , and the videos analysed for evidence that demonstrates the exchange of knowledge and skills across the two generations, one of the benefits of digital games identified by De la Hera et al. Furthermore. Previous research indicates that the controls of a console game presents barriers to the older, less experienced player (e.g. Aarsand et al., 2007, excerpt 2, page 244). We will therefore analyse from the recorded sessions whether similar barriers are present when connected toys are played with, as these use tangible objects which more closely resemble traditional, physical toys. It has also been suggested by De la Hera et al. that digital games can lead to reinforcement of family relationships and increased understanding of the other generation. To investigate this, we will carry out semi-structured interviews with the grandparents and grandchildren, before and after the play session.
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hal-02081469 , version 1 (27-03-2019)


  • HAL Id : hal-02081469 , version 1


Anna Taylor, Amanda Gummer. Connected Grandparents: Are Smart Toys the Future for Intergenerational Play?. 8th International Toy Research Association World Conference, International Toy Research Association (ITRA), Jul 2018, Paris, France. ⟨hal-02081469⟩
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