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Kids get more mileage out of modern gadgets

10th June 2010 Print

Kids are shunning traditional car games in favour of modern entertainment gadgets, according to the results of a nationwide test carried out by Pixmania.

In a study involving 28 families, covering over 22,000 miles of road and over 500 driving hours, the online retailer road-tested the entertainment value of traditional car games such as Eye Spy and 20 Questions against the latest gadgets including portable DVD players and the latest iPod Touch. The results of PIXmania’s ‘digital miles test’ revealed that modern entertainment gadgets are leading the way in keeping the kids amused, engaging children for over six times longer than the traditional car games.

The results of the tests come as record numbers of families are expected to hit the roads this summer as they shun international travel in the face of continued ash cloud disruption. The AA has predicted that over 15 million cars used UK roads over the last bank holiday weekend alone.

Families taking part in the test were required to keep a log over the course of three weeks of how long each game and gadget kept the kids entertained for. The iPod Touch and the Sony PSP were the most successful of the five gadgets put to the test. Both kept children occupied for an average of just over 3.5 hours or 201 miles – that’s an entire journey from London to Manchester.

Results for the SIGMATEK TV portable DVD player, reveal this popular piece of kit would ensure a peaceful car journey from London to Bristol, distracting children for just over 2 hours and a distance of 113 miles.

In 3rd place on the grid is the Nintendo DSi XL, which is revealed as perfect for journeys from London to Southampton, clocking up an average of 79 miles or over 1 hour 40 minutes of entertainment time. Recent sales figures reveal that 3 in 5 families in the UK now has a Nintendo DS console.

Netbooks came in 4th place, which, hugely popular with kids for being lightweight and cheaper than their laptop cousins, had an average distraction time of 1 hour 20 minutes. It’s equivalent to a journey of Cambridge to London. Apple’s 5th generation iPod, the Nano, came in last keeping kids entertained for an average of 45 minutes or 37 miles.

In comparison, the most successful traditional game, Eye Spy, kept children occupied for an average of 30 minutes, just about covering the journey from central London to the motorway! The entertainment value of this classic game was reduced by two thirds at 70 miles and hour, to an average of just 10 minutes, when objects became too fast to spot.

Other traditional games in the PIXmania road test, which included 20 Questions, the Alphabet game and the Number Plate game held the children’s attention for a mere average of 16 mins – the average time for travelling down London’s Oxford Street during rush hour! The Word Association game fared the worst causing arguing in the back seat on 8 in 10 occasions and lasting for as little as 5 minutes. Traditional games did however win the day on the rare sunny days, when sunshine obscured the screens of the likes of the DVD player and PSP.

Analysis of the records kept by families during times of heavy congestion on the roads also showed the modern gadgets way out ahead of the traditional games. The portable DVD player came out best keeping kids engrossed for the entire length of the DVD. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Cars were the most popular and also longest running of the children’s DVDs tested, lasting an average of 2 hours and 50 mins. The number plate game was revealed as the worst in congestion lasting for just 5 minutes, equivalent to a distance of less than half a mile.

Ulric Jerome, MD, PIXmania, comments: ““Pixmania has a huge collection of the latest gadgets and if you believe in the old adage that kids should be seen and not heard then it’s gadgets over games all the way. When it comes to keeping the kids happy our research has shown that’s its very much out with the old and in with the new.

Says James Bradley, whose family took part in PIXmania’s digital miles test: “Like most youngsters, my children are easily bored, especially in the back of the car. It really does take something as impressive and varied as the Sony PSP to keep them occupied for over three hours. Traditional games such as Eye Spy were great for getting all the family involved but they just didn’t hold the children’s attention for long. The traditional games often proved too hard for my toddler – whereas she’ll sit and watch the right DVD for hours.”