Video games are stunting kids' imaginations

17/10/2012 10:49 BST | Updated 16/12/2012 10:12 GMT

Video games are stunting children's imagination and inhibiting their ability to play together.

This rather concerning issue came to light in research we conducted for Toby's Travelling Circus, our new television programme for under-fives.

The study found that children who play with computer games are less likely to play with other children or to turn household objects, such as cardboard boxes, into toys.

As a result, parents and grandparents are increasingly demanding entertainment which promotes imagination, physical activity and collaboration between siblings.

We asked the research team to look at attitudes to children's entertainment across three generations to find what each age group thought was important.

It was a cornerstone of the creation of our all-British-built children's programme which, in its early weeks on Channel 5's milkshake!, is proving to be even more popular than the wildly successful Peppa Pig.

Our stop-motion show - a style shared with Tim Burton's new film Frankenweenie - champions "offline" play by promoting the idea of performance among children.

We at Komixx hope it will boost children's desire to practice their performance and every try circus skills at home in a return to more "traditional play".

If you look at parenting now, there's a fairly widespread return to classic traditional values and themes.

Parents increasingly want their children to be physically active and to do things with their friends and siblings rather than using a game controller.

Sitting there only engaging with a plastic controller is stunting their imagination and stopping them from playing easily with other children because their imaginations effectively switch off when they turn the game off.

Parents that we speak to are rightly concerned by this and want their children to be making stage sets from cardboard boxes and performing shows, for example; expressing themselves in ways that electronic games don't allow.

Wanting to perform, to put on a show, is something that kids love and our programme actively encourages them to do that but it reinforces so many other good things too, like teamwork, the idea that practice makes perfect and develops the confidence that comes from standing up on your own in front of people.

There's a type of play that we are in danger of losing forever, it's that type of real play, which uses the immediate environment as a springboard for the imagination.

Our research has shown that stop-motion animation, especially one as fantastically detailed as Toby's Travelling Circus, helps children imagine what is on screen as a real thing, which fuels their imagination in the real world in a way which computer-generated animation or games cannot.

Our show is about the benefits of teamwork, physical exercise, the pleasure of movement and the thrill of performance. We hope that parents and children alike can, through it, rediscover a little of the joy of imaginative play.