A new study from PopCap Games and Goldsmiths University suggests that playing computer games together increases "bonding between parents and children."

It found that of the parents surveyed 32 per cent played games with their children. It went on to report that of this number 80 per cent described playing games as "quality time", suggesting that the activity resulted in "greater bonding with their children."

The research was carried out by PopCap Games and Goldsmiths University's Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. The research aimed to explore the role casual gaming had on family units. Casual gaming refers to playing simple puzzle or strategy games.

The study reported that around 3.8 million parents currently play casual games. It also alleged that "many" grandparents used casual games as a way to strengthen their bonds with their "tech-savvy grandchildren."

It also alleged a dramatic increase in the number of children playing casual games. According to PopCap's paper, children as young as two were now playing casual games on smartphone and tablet devices.

Despite the relatively young uptake age, the study also reported a number of fringe benefits for children who regularly participated in casual gaming. PopCap claimed that a third of the parents questioned found that their children had better concentration and 53 per cent had reported an improvement in their children's problem solving skills.

The study also revealed that 22 per cent of parents believed that playing computer games had helped their children gain a better understanding of technology in general.

"These findings are important because they highlight the social benefits of playing videogames. Previous research has tended to look only at the individual effects of video games, but in the era of social networking games appear to play a vital role in enhancing social relationships," commented Reader in Psychology at Goldsmiths Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic.

Already certain analysts have questioned the research's findings, arguing that PopCap's place within the industry may have tainted its research practices.

Alongside Zynga -- a company that specialises in making casual games on Facebook -- PopCap is one of the biggest developer in the field, having created award winning titles such as Plants vs. Zombies, Angry Birds and Bejeweled.