Research group Joan Ganz Cooney Center have been studying video games and their effect on children and families. Called the Families and Media Project, they surveyed nearly 700 parents of 4-13-year old children who play video games.

Their latest find explores specific genres and kinds of games that kids (and parents) play.

families and media projectPuzzle and Strategy games are overwhelmingly the majority genre for both parents and kids. After that some disparity occurs. Kids prefer Adventure and Simulation/Building games. Parents would rather tackle Trivia and “Brain Training” exercises. Traditionally action-packed and violent games like Fighting and First Person Shooters are very low in both categories.

Parents were asked to write in their kids’ two favorite games. The survey reflected this in an easy-to-read word cloud. Minecraft remains the most popular title. But Mario and LEGO (both could encompass dozens of games) were also common answers.

Other games range from traditional AAA titles like Halo and Assassin’s Creed (rated from Teen to Mature) to educational games and videos such as Toca Boca and PBS Kids. But Wii Sports, really? C’mon parents.

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center is an independent research group focusing on children and education. They study the effects emerging technology has on education and children’s learning.

The Families and Media Project seeks to learn about where video games fit in daily family life. They cite the NPD 2011 survey that 91% of children in the US (age 2-17) play video games.

A previous study conducted last month revealed how often kids played games, and for how long. It also looked into boy/girl genre preferences, and which gaming devices kids used most often. Spoiler alert: kids play a lot of video games.

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Eric has been writing for over eight years with bylines in Dicebreaker, Pixelkin, Polygon, PC Gamer and Tabletop Gaming magazine, covering movies, TV shows, video games, tabletop games and tech. He reviews and live streams D&D adventures every week on YouTube. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla.