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Computer games good for kids: parents

Three-quarters of Australian parents believe video games have a positive effect on their children, claims a new survey commissioned by video game makers THQ.

However, half of parents are divided on whether video games are a true social experience for children, the survey of more than 1000 parents with children aged 5 to 12 released on Monday found.

97 per cent of Australian households own one or more video game consoles and 60 per cent of parents spend an average of up to two hours a week playing video games with their children.

Nine out of ten Australian parents wish they had more time to play in general with their children, spending an average of just over 11 hours in children’s activities each week.

These include watching TV (three hours), playing outdoors (two hours), playing sports (two hours), playing with toys (1.5 hours), board games (one hour) and video games (one hour).

Social demographer Mark McCrindle said four out of five video games are played as a family, with the same number of parents saying they enjoy playing video games with their children.

“Parents have come to accept video games as a valuable and complementary form of entertainment today, as long as they provide creativity and educational benefits,” McCrindle said.

76 per cent of parents believe video games can have a positive effect on children when played in moderation, including improved motor skills and hand-eye coordination (94 per cent), problem solving skills (91 per cent) and creativity (72 per cent).
However, 41 per cent of parents find it hard to monitor what video games are appropriate for children, the survey found.

South Australian children are the most active video gamers in the country, with 46 per cent of children playing one to two hours a day, compared to 37 per cent nationally.

Victorian parents are the most accepting of video games, with 80 per cent believing they have a positive influence on kids.

And NSW parents are the least likely to believe their children have enough play time overall, including sports, outdoor playing and other entertainment – 67 per cent compared to the national average of 74 per cent.

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