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Death of the card game
Playing cards, board games and simple make-believe in danger of dying out as child’s play goes digital

By John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor
7:30AM BST 24 Jun 2015

They were once the staples of childhood which could fill a rainy afternoon without a charger or cable in sight.

But games such as Old Maid, Happy Families and even snap are in danger of dying out as the lure of interactive online gaming leaves the prospect of playing cards firmly out of favour.

New research shows that the current generation of children are 40 per cent less likely than their own parents to play card games while the popularity of chess has almost halved within a generation.

And even though today’s parents grew up in a world in which computers were already becoming a “must-have” item for many families, children are now twice as likely to play video games than the previous generation.

Crucially, a majority of parents now believe their children spend more time alone than they themselves did as children and a significant number say they even have fewer friends.

The shift in children’s playing patterns is spelt out in research for Barclaycard, which sponsors Yes2Chess, a drive to get primary schoolchildren playing chess.

Opinium Research sampled a group of just over 1,000 children aged between seven and 14 and another 1,000 parents with children in that age group about childhood pastimes.

While 73 per cent of the parents remembered regularly playing board games as children, only 44 per cent of the children polled said they do so now.

Only a quarter said they play chess, compared with 45 per cent of their parents at the same age.

David Chan, chief executive of Barclaycard Europe, said: “In today’s world, where many parents fear that they’re spending less time with their children, there is no better way to bring the family together than to gather around a board game or a pack of cards.

“Sometimes, the old ways are the best, and parents shouldn’t be afraid to swap their tablet for the chess board every once in a while.”

He added: “Children today have opportunities to both learn and play through a whole raft of games and technologies that have developed since their parents’ generation.

“But 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, which is why we’ve been so passionate at Barclaycard to help bring it into schools.”

Full article here.

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