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Over two million British kids are addicted to playing computer games according to a new survey commissioned by make-believer, the toy manufacturer which brings the virtual world and the creative world together.

With the half-term break about to start, the survey, conducted for make-believer by MORI, showed that a fifth of the country's parents with kids under 16 believe that playing computer games is one of their kids' favourite pastimes. Furthermore, one in ten parents feel that their children tend to spend as much time as possible playing on the computer. The research also showed that nearly half of Britain's kids are couch-potatoes, with watching the TV and videos as one of their top free-time activities.

Only a third of parents believe playing outdoors is one of their kids' favourite pastimes, and with the winter nights setting in opportunities for this will decrease. Only 16 percent of kids are very likely take part in sports or clubs in their spare time.

Frank Nicholson, chairman of make-believer, said: "While over half of the parents surveyed said that the educational value of a toy is an important criteria when buying, this doesn't appear to be translating itself into the activities that their children do.

"For children to develop their capabilities it is important that they learn while being entertained. Computer games and children go hand-in-hand, but "shoot'em and nuke'em" screen games do not challenge their intellect, creativity or interpersonal skills.

"Computer skills are a vital asset for children to have, but the popularity of games has led to quality family time being put on the back-burner, as children typically spend their time with friends, or by themselves, playing the latest computer games or slouched in front of the TV."

The results also show that only 15 percent of parents believe their kids do schoolwork as a priority in their spare time, and over a third of parents do not spend any time helping their kids with it.

The good news is that just over half of parents (56%) feel they spend "a great deal of quality time with my children," but nearly a third (31%) believe "my work commitments interfere with the amount of time I spend with my children."


Issued by Kelso Consulting on behalf of make-believer Ltd

For further information, a photograph of the make-believer team, or a review copy please contact: (Topline survey results pasted at bottom of this email)

David Sheppard
make-believer Ltd
01670 512 064
or 01665 570 464 out of hours

James Sheppard or Vicki Ward
Kelso Consulting
020 7729 7595
or 07971 021 098 out of hours

Or you can visit

Notes to Editors

What is make-believer?

make-believer is a new kind of toy company, bringing together the advantages and attractions of computer and internet based entertainment for children with traditional 'make and do' play. make-believer's vision is to bridge the gap between the virtual world and the real world of physically constructing things and playing with them.

Research was conducted on the MORI Omnibus between 4-9 October 2001, 646 face-to-face interviews using CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview) with parents; questions were asked of their child's spare time. Data is weighted to the national profile population. Questions are based on parents with children aged 15 and under.

'Click & Do' bridges the gap for 4-12 year olds between their desire for technology and internet play with the more traditional make and do play

make-believer products

The House That YOU Built TM- five house styles, with four rooms, a family down-loadable from the internet, over 120 items of furniture and hundreds of colour and pattern combinations that can be applied to family, furniture, inside and outside walls.

Kingdoms & Castles TM - Over 60 castle modules (towers, battlements, draw-bridges etc) a cast of characters - Kings to Commoners - with hundreds of animals and castle equipment they can create a medieval replica or Transylvanian gothic fantasy.

Village Life TM - With a library of hundreds of buildings and a choice of using pre-planned layouts or using 'Ground-Designer,' children can create a village of imagination or reality.

Make-believer - Children’s Spare Time Survey

Topline Results

Q1 How many hours, on average, would you say you generally spend per week helping this child with their school work?

Base: All Parents (646)


Less than 2 hours


2 to 5 hours


6 to 10 hours


11 hours plus




Don’t know


Q2 Which, if any, of the following is your child most likely to do in his/her spare time?

Base: All Parents (646)


Art / craft activities – making models etc


Computer games (i.e. Playstation, Nintendo, Gameboy, etc)


Hanging out with friends/shopping


On the Internet


Playing outdoors


Playing with toys




School work


Sports/clubs/team activities


Using a PC/Computer


Watching TV and/or videos




None of the above


Don’t know


Q3 Which of the following statements, if any, do you, feel apply to you?

Base: All Parents (646)


My work commitments interfere with the amount of time I spend with my child


My child prefers to spend time with their friends/siblings than with me


My child tends to spend as much time as possible playing on the computer/computer games


My child thinks it is ‘uncool’ to hang out with their parents


I feel I spend a great deal of quality time with my child/ren


I spent more time with my parents when I grew up than my child/ren spend with me


None of these


Q4 Which, if any, of the following statements would you say describe the reasons that you generally buy a toy for a child?

Base: All Parents (646)


It will be fun and keep the child occupied


It is educational


You want to play with it


To stop them nagging that they want it


Because I enjoyed playing with the same toy/game when I was young


Recommendation from friends/elsewhere


Because all their friends have it


I want them to have something their friends don’t


None of these




Don’t know


646 interviews were conducted on the MORI Omnibus, face-to-face in homes using CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interview) with parents; questions were asked of their child’s spare time
Fieldwork dates 4 – 9 October 2001

All data are weighted to the national profile population

All questions are based on all parents with children aged 15 and under (646), Unless otherwise stated

An asterisk (*) denotes a percentage of less than 0.5% but greater than zero

All figures are expressed in percentage terms. Where they do not add up to 100% this will be due to either rounding, multiple response answers or a number of not stated answers.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Kelso Consulting in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit