Do computer games count as quality time for families?

Gaming does give you quality time with your children, say experts

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Instead of parents worrying about their children spending too much time playing computer games, they’d be better off joining in, say experts.

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A third of parents regularly play video games with their children, a new study of computer game use in families has found. The research also showed that this use of technology helped older generations interact and catch up with their tech-savvy kids.

The study – by Goldsmiths, University of London and gaming company PopCap – polled 3,250 parents about their families’ gaming habits. Three quarters of the parents said that despite playing computer games regularly, their children also exercised often and ate healthily. A third felt that playing computer games helped develop their children’s concentration skills.

“These findings are important because they highlight the social benefits of playing video games,” said Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, from Goldsmiths. He also explained that gaming was far broader now and social networking also played a role in making the video games world a more social place.

“The fact that both parents and grandparents are using games to connect with their children and grandchildren, and quite successfully, suggests that video games can improve social skills and make a key contribution to both effective parenting and child development,” Dr Tomas added.

“Video games are becoming as popular a mainstream lifestyle entertainment as movies or music and finding a place in family life alongside traditional parlour or board games,” explained Cathy Orr, from PopCap. “In many cases, they provide a new video game format for family favourite board games.”

Do you play computer games with your children? Or do you think nothing beats a board game? We’d love to know what your take is on these stats.

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