Children mourn the death of boardgames

Board games such as snakes and ladders, ludo and chess are falling out of favour because children are too busy playing with technology, according to a study. Family time is being eroded, with more than two fifths of children saying that they do not spend enough time playing games with their parents. This rises to more than half among younger children.

A fifth of parents feel that modern playing habits have led to the family spending less time together.

The researchers asked 1,000 parents, and their children aged 7 to 14, about their playing experiences in childhood. Computer gaming among children has doubled in a generation and three fifths of children play these on their own.

Three quarters of parents worried that the way in which children played today was having an impact on their development, and a quarter said that their offspring were not developing the same skills from playing that they did when growing up.

A quarter of children played chess, compared with almost half the parents when they were young. Three quarters of parents had played card games, compared to 44 per cent of children.

Two thirds of children said that they would like to learn how to play traditional games such as draughts, puzzles and chess. This increased to seven in ten among those who had no siblings. More than four fifths of children play computer games now, compared with less than two fifths of their parents as youngsters. Six in ten of those children play video games on their own.

More than half of parents feel they do not spend enough time playing games together with their children and nine in ten believe that the games children play now are different from those when they were growing up. Only one in ten thinks that the new games help their children to learn new skills.

The survey was carried out by Barclaycard Europe, which sponsors Yes2Chess, a school initiative which is hosting an international chess competition. The final takes place today in Hyde Park.

David Chan, chief executive at Barclaycard, said: “Our research has found that new technology is not always better, and some of the more traditional games still have a place in children’s lives today.

“Chess in particular has been shown to improve children’s numeracy and problem-solving skills as well as overall educational outcomes.”

Kairen Cullen, an educational psychologist, said: “While new technology has a lot to contribute, it is just one way in which children’s play can be stimulated. There can never be a substitute for actual interaction with other children and adults and careful time limits have to be placed upon new technology.”