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Tuesday, 17 April, 2001, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
Computer games enjoy baby boom
Tweenies: 100,000 copies of the computer game sold
Sales of computer games for pre-school children have risen by 40 per cent in the past 12 months.

The pre-school market is now the fastest growing sector of the computer games industry, which grew as a whole by six per cent in the past year.

Games can be educational and provide children with new problem solving skills

Roger Bennett, Elspa
The figures, from market research company Taylor Nelson, show that the average price of a game for pre-school children has fallen by 22 per cent to 17.27.

The rise is attributed to a generation of computer-aware young parents who grew up with the first games consoles in the 1980s.

The growth has been fuelled by a host of titles based around popular children's programmes such as the BBC series, The Tweenies.

Tweenies - Ready to Play, for the PC, has been the best selling title for children for 35 of the past 52 weeks.

'Perfectly normal'

More than 100,000 copies of the game have been sold so far.

Roger Bennett, director general of the European Leisure Software Publishers Association (Elspa), said computer games are seen as a "perfectly normal leisure and learning activity".

People felt very frustrated because they did not know what they would do with their old consoles

Dave Lee, BBC Worldwide

Parents who played games consoles when teenagers, he said, "have none of the fears about the effects of computer games on children that were flagged up in the early days".

He added: "They know that games can be educational and provide children with new problem solving, spatial and eye coordination skills as well as teaching them about numbers and letters."

Dave Lee, director of multimedia at BBC Worldwide, said parents were finding new uses for their old games consoles.

He said: "We did a lot of research and found that people felt very frustrated because they did not know what they would do with their old consoles other than put them in car boot sales.

"Now they realise they can just give them to the children."

See also:

07 Dec 00 | Scotland
Games strain on children
29 Apr 00 | Education
Video games 'valid learning tools'
02 Nov 00 | Education
Lessons from computer use at home
23 Apr 00 | Health
Video games 'increase aggression'
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