Parents should consider taking tablet computers off their children to ensure they get a good night’s sleep and are ready for school, it has been suggested.
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said that mothers and fathers need to monitor their youngsters’ use of the gadgets, amid fears that children are spending hours and staying up late into the night playing on them.
The union is due to debate a resolution at its annual conference in Manchester next week highlighting teachers’ concerns about “tablet addiction” among pupils.
It says that symptoms of this addiction can include include pupils being withdrawn at school, lacking interest in other activities, being irritable, deceptive and performing poorly in lessons.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Dr Bousted said that tablet computers are “extremely empowering” and make technology accessible to many people.
But she said there were concerns that increased screen time on tablets could lead to more sedentary and isolated children.
“I don’t think anybody in the debate is going to say ‘let’s go back to the 20th century’, it’s about how they are managed and how they are used and particularly about how they are used in schools,” she said.
“Perhaps there will be a debate also about the ways in which parents should monitor the use of tablets and computers at home.”
Dr Bousted said that the resolution was likely to address children over-using tablets at home and the impact this has on their school work.
She said parents needed to manage the time spent on tablets and computers, but also what programs and games were used.
“It’s just like having a television in the bedroom, only its easier with a tablet, it’s smaller.
“Because they are smaller you say ‘turn your tablet off now and go to bed’ and two hours later you go up and they’re under the duvet still playing the computer game.”
“My view is the only way you can do it is to take the things off of them,” she said.