MOST parents have probably plonked their child in front of the TV as a ready-made babysitter.

But a recent Queensland University of Technology (QUT) study has revealed children could be better off playing video games instead.

QUT's Games Research and Interactive Design (GRID) lab co-research leader Dr Penny Sweetser said they found the majority of children aged two to five exceeded the Australian government recommendations of a maximum of one hour of "screen time" per day.

"We found that most of the screen time is spent on watching TV and not on computers or video games," she said.

Bargara mother of one, Sara Booth said she allowed her son Caleb to play video games but only after he had done his home work.

"With the Nintendo Wii he is always up and moving," she said.

"He mainly plays sports and problem solving games."

Dr Sweetser said it was not very accurate to lump all screen time together.

"It was more accurate to divide the screen time between active and passive," she said.

"Passive screen time is sedentary receiving the media whereas active involves cognitive and physical activity."

Dr Sweetser said computer use during the pre-school years was associated with improved school readiness, cognitive development and facilitates social interaction.

"Video games enhance visual attention, problem solving skills and deductive reasoning," she said.

Dr Sweetser said moderation was important and parents should monitor the amount of time and type of games children play.
 



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