Active video games that require whole body movement to play the game may be an innovative health promotion tool to substitute sedentary pastime with more active time and may therefore contribute to children's health. To inform strategies aimed at reducing sedentary behavior by replacing non-active by active gaming, opinions about active and non-active video games are explored among 8- to 12-year-old children and their parents.
Six qualitative, semi-structured focus groups were held with 8- to 12-year-old children (n = 46) and four with their parents (n = 19) at three different primary schools in The Netherlands. The focus groups with children discussed game preferences, gaming context and perceived game-related parenting. The focus groups with parents addressed considerations in purchasing video games, perceived positive and negative consequences of gaming, and game-related parenting.
Both children and their parents were very positive about active video games and preferred active games over non-active games. Active video games were considered more social than non-active video games, and active games were played more often together with friends and family than non-active video games. Parenting practices did not differ for active and non-active video games, although some parents were less strict regarding active games. Two conditions for practical implementation were met: children enjoyed active video games, and parents were willing to buy active video games.
Active video games were preferred to non-active video games, illustrating that using active video games is a promising health promotion tool to reduce sedentary pastime in youth.