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Friday, 31 August, 2001, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK
Child study dispels couch potato image
children at a computer
Many children are better on computers than their parents
Children are leading busier lives than ever and have computer skills which put their parents to shame, a survey has said.

A study for the children's website CBBC Xchange found that children are not couch potatoes and can sing, dance and play musical instruments.

It found that children were taking part in an average of two scheduled activities a week, while 10 per cent of children took about four classes a week.

Researchers said nearly half of children had more hobbies than their parents.

And 74% said they were better on computers than their parents.

Busy lives
59% like swimming
33% play football
14% rollerblade
43% play instruments
79% use computers for study
BBC Education executive Jane Quinn said the study showed children were not stuck to their sofas.

"It makes them out to be much more rounded than the public perception.

"They are doing a range of activities - like swimming and football - but also have computer skills, which they put to constructive use such as research for schoolwork," she said.

The favourite activity for children aged between seven and 12 was swimming (59%).

The only stress that comes from this could be competition for getting on the computer

Jane Quinn, BBC Education
About one in three play football and nearly half of all children questioned said they played musical instruments.

If children have many more hobbies than their parents, they are also more likely to be able to sort out a problem on the computer.

Of parents who work full-time, 58% thought their children had better computer skills than they had.

Jane Quinn believes most families are pleased: "The only stress that comes from this could be competition for getting on the computer."

The study - which involved nearly 550 children aged between seven and 12 - found that 79% were using computers for research to help them with their homework.

See also:

26 Jan 01 | Education
Active children 'do better in class'
25 Jul 00 | Education
Out-of-school activities increase
13 Sep 00 | Education
'Fool's gold' of school computers
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