A Government's communications adviser has issued a warning that watching DVDs and video games during long car journeys could hamper children's language skills.
Jean Gross called on parents to play traditional family games such as I-Spy instead of relying on screen technology to stave off the inevitable calls of 'Are we there yet?'
Middle-class children were most at risk of missing out because they were more likely to be handed expensive gadgets such as an in-car DVD player, Nintendo DS or iPod touch, warned Gross.
"I remember we did spotting games in the car, but with the Nintendo DS and other handheld video games it's going to be more affluent parents whose children have problems learning to speak, not just those from poorer homes who have less exposure to a wide range of language," the Daily Mail quoted Gross as saying.
"Children develop in close contact with adults. This is your chance to double their vocabulary," she added.
Studies have suggested that it can also help them succeed in the workplace and in relationships, said Gross.
'There is a strong link between communication and the ability to form relationships and get through life smoothly,' she said.
"It's about having a choice of register and knowing the appropriate language to use in different contexts," she added.