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Cyber satchels fill up

Back-to-school gadgets more popular than ever

Gone are the days when kids' schoolbags were brimming with pencilcases, setsquares and pairs of compasses; now children more likely to be stocking up on back-to-school electronic gadgets.

Research by ISP Telewest showed the average teenager goes to school with at least two hi-tech gadgets, worth a whopping £160 in total.

"The research gave us a great insight into what's techno-hot and what's not in the cyber satchel this year," said David Hobday, sales and marketing director Telewest Broadband.

Game consoles were off the cool list this year, with mobile phones retaining pole position, although only those with the newest ringtones and covers made the grade.

The study also found technology was equally popular out of school hours, with over 70 percent of teenagers owning a home PC connected to the internet. But more traditional learning tools like encyclopedias weren't such winners, with only one in five kids having access to a set of reference books at home.

"It's good to see that children are moving with modern technology, but it's a little unfortunate for parents who will have to put their hands even deeper into their pockets this year for more expensive gadgets," said a spokesman at the National Union of Teachers.

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