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Gaming good for kids, parents say

30 Apr 2012
FYI, this story is more than a year old

A better understanding of subjects like maths and science as well as skills in planning and an understanding of technology are driving more and more parents to consider gaming an important component of their children’s education.

That’s the finding of Bond University’s Digital New Zealand 2012 report, which is based on a survey of over 800 New Zealand households.

92% of parents who participated in the survey said they felt video games were educational, and three in four reported actively using games as an educational tool with their children.

The survey also found the number of parents playing games is on the rise, with 79% of those with children under 18 playing games compared with 63% in 2010. Of those, 90% will play together with their children, compared to 59% previously.

Stephen Knightly, chairman of the New Zealand Game Developers Association, says games are ideal for education because at their core, all games are about meeting a challenge.

"Games continually test you and give fast feedback,” Knightly says.

"That’s what makes them challenging and so well suited for teaching.”

As well as encouraging knowledge, games can be used to help teach life skills like coping with depression.

69% of gamers in New Zealand only play for up to one hour at a time, and only 3% play for five hours or more in one sitting.

The average age of the New Zealand gamer is 33.

Do you think games are educational, or are these parents just trying to justify the time their children spend away from their books? Post your comments below.

Image: Screenshot from Puddle, a puzzle game based on the physics of gravity and hydrodynamics.

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