The charity Tablets for Schools warns that almost half of children are addicted to smartphones as it advises children to buy alarm clocks rather than take internet-enabled gadgets to bed
Children have been told to buy traditional alarm clocks rather than rely on smartphones to wake them up in the morning amid fears over widespread “addiction” to electronic 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 – drawn up by an industry-backed technology charity – 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.
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.
t emerged that four-in-10 pupils in secondary schools can now barely function without holding on to electronic gadgets.
The research – by the charity Tablets for Schools – found that some two-thirds of pupils admit to taking an internet-enabled device to bed with them at night.
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.
One girl aged 12 said the internet “nearly always controls my actions”, adding: “I have been told that I am addicted to the internet, and prefer its company rather than being with other people.”
A girl of 13 told researchers: “I seriously have withdrawal if someone takes my tablet away. I walk around the house with it even though it’s not even turned on, I just like being with it.”
Another 13-year-old girl added: “Sometimes if I don’t use [my phone] at night I can’t sleep.”
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.
The charity is backed by major firms such as Google, Sony, Samsung, Carphone Warehouse and Virgin Media.