Keeping It In The FamilyCandy Crush is well known for its annoying notifications. At its peak, you could receive up to 10 or more notifications from desperate friends asking for a ticket to pass onto the next step. For those that hadn't yet discovered the joys of Candy Crush, it was a nightmare. Well, new research suggests that Social Network Games (SNG) such as Candy Crush, hosted by Facebook, could be strengthening family bonds.
The research, conducted by Concordia University and published in Information, Communications and Society highlights SNG's potential to become a family affair. SNGs such as Candy Crush or Farmville function on a peer-to-peer basis. You can play on your own, but to have access to other levels or special objects, you have to request the help of other users. This is possible because these games are hosted through Facebook, and so you have a long list of people to choose from to pester with notifications.
These annoying notifications and requests plague our Facebook experience, but little did we realise that they could have positive repercussions. These SNGs actually give families a chance to connect in unexpected ways.
First of all, Facebook isn't just for young people anymore. Older people and older family members are more and more present on the social media network. And a part of that presence is on these games. This means that different family members that wouldn't necessarily interact in everyday life or have much in common are using SNGs to communicate with one-another. Co-author of the study, Kelly Boudreau, explains: "These multi-generational interactions prove social networks are tools that break down both communication and age barriers."
How hard a Candy Crush level was to pass is a very common topic of conversation among my family members. As well as blackmail to receive that elusive ticket.
Furthermore, these games are convenient and cheap, transcending geographical boundaries. If most of your family live in a different country or continent to you, it may be hard to find the time to communicate with each other. SNGs break that down and family members you wouldn't necessarily interact with are just a click away.
The most interesting thing about this study is the potential for game designers. Family games online is a rather unexplored subject. Game developers could use the idea of board games that usually bring families together and bring them to Facebook. This essentially creates an amazing new game than many families can enjoy.
Next time your annoying Uncle sends you another Candy Crush request, coupled with a Facebook message urging you to reply to his request, don't dismiss it so easily. Candy Crush could be an all-important tool in creating strong bonds with your family.