June 25, 2012 3:52:51 pm
Computer games have replaced dolls as the most sought after toy for girls for the first time in half a century.
A study of children’s wish lists also revealed that boys have turned their backs on construction toys in favour of modern gadgets and consoles,such as iPods,Playstations and the Xbox.
This change has been at the expense of Lego,Meccanno,Barbie and Cabbage Patch Dolls – the mainstay of British childhood from the 1950s to late 1990s.
The research,carried out by energy firm E.ON,found the move towards electronic toys started in the 1980s,with the Nintendo Game Boy.
In fact,the study found that electronic toys have jumped from fifth most popular plaything in the 1980s to the toy of choice for the 21st century kid.
However,construction toys have still managed to cling to second spot,with 18 percent of children naming them as their favourite.
And dolls take third place,with 16 percent,the study of 2,000 people found.
Childs play campaigner Adrian Voce OBE,a former director of Play England,said it was unlikely that dolls would ever die out completely.
Dolls may no longer be the top toy for girls but I dont see them dying out anytime soon, he said.
Children like to play in ways that allows them to replicate an adults world and dolls allow them to do this. The dolls can play the roles of different people in childrens real or fantasy life and they can play a parent-figure.
However,what is most important is children are actually playing. We have seen children can even play and have a good time with household items and junk, he said.
The number of children who own mostly battery-operated toys has more than trippled in that period from 10 percent to 34 percent.
Board games faced the maximum brunt of the change in childrens choice,having been the number one toy for 12 percent of those born in the 50s to just 3 percent for those born in the 90s.
Experts blamed a lack of time for the trend,saying it was easier to leave a child in front of a screen than engage them with a board game.
It is important not to label gadgets bad guys because children need to learn how to use electronic devices in an increasingly computerised world, Voce said.
However,there are dangers that children will become over-reliant on what is essentially a two-dimensional screen-based interaction.
Children need to have objects that they can mould,rearrange,construct and deconstruct. These things develop their motor skills and hand-eye coordination, he added. (ANI)
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