Children are addicted to smartphones


A charity has warned that almost half of children are addicted to smartphones and taking internet-enabled gadgets to bed prevents them from sleeping.

The Tablets for Schools charity advises children to buy traditional alarm clocks rather than relying on smartphones to wake them up in the morning amid fears over “addiction” to tech gadgets.

Guidance being sent to schools advises pupils to switch off iPhones, tablet computers or laptops in the evening to give them proper time to sleep.

The document says that use of internet-enabled devices in the evening can stimulate brain activity and prevent children getting enough rest. It advises schoolchildren to “invest in a real alarm clock” to ensure they get a proper night’s sleep and arrive at school ready for lessons.

It also emerged in the research that four-in-10 pupils in secondary schools can now barely function without holding on to electronic gadgets, and some two-thirds of pupils admitting to taking an internet-enabled device to bed with them at night.

The figures show that girls are more likely to be hooked on smartphones than boys, often using the internet “compulsively” to talk to friends via social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. It found that 46 per cent of girls were addicted to the internet against just 36 per cent of boys.

The comments were made as a survey of more than 2,200 pupils found that almost half admit to feeling “controlled” by the internet and electronic gadgets.

The charity, which is backed by major technology firms and was set up to promote tablet computers in the classroom, has now issued a five-point guide to prevent children becoming addicted to smartphones. It advises children to:

  • Power down devices 30 minutes before bed, adding: “Don’t use your device as a clock – invest in a real alarm clock”;
  • Set time limits to avoid watching hours of online content when time can be spent on other things;
  • Find new “boredom busters” – interests and passions to enjoy when off-line;
  • Ensure devices are completely unplugged or powered down at certain times in the week or day;
  • Almost switch off devices when studying to avoid distraction.
School Leadership Today