Get off the phone and help your chil­dren, says Min­is­ter

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Bren­dan Car­lin PO­LIT­I­CAL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

PAR­ENTS are be­ing urged by the Govern­ment to put down their mo­bile phones and help their chil­dren with learn­ing at home.

West­min­ster Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Damian Hinds ap­pealed to moth­ers and fa­thers to cut back on their screen time, say­ing it was ‘a scan­dal’ that many chil­dren ‘are start­ing school un­able to com­mu­ni­cate ef­fec­tively’. He told par­ents that spend­ing ‘one-to-one time with­out gad­gets’ – and ‘play­ing with num­bers to songs and po­ems’ – could reap div­i­dends for their young­sters’ ed­u­ca­tion. His call comes ahead of a sum­mit in Lon­don this week with ma­jor com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Lego and Dis­ney, to ad­dress what he called the ‘last taboo’ of tack­ling ed­u­ca­tional dis­ad­van­tage – ad­vis­ing par­ents on how best they can go about ed­u­cat­ing their young chil­dren at home.

Mr Hinds said: ‘It is a per­sis­tent scan­dal that too many chil­dren are start­ing school un­able to com­mu­ni­cate ef­fec­tively, and we know that what hap­pens at home makes a big dif­fer­ence in that. As a par­ent, I am con­scious that while we think about screen time lim­its for chil­dren, we find it harder to limit it for our­selves, but that one-to-one time with­out gad­gets get­ting in the way is so valu­able.’

The sum­mit, in­volv­ing the Na­tional Lit­er­acy Trust, aims to bring to­gether busi­ness lead­ers, the me­dia and tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies to ex­plore ways of help­ing par­ents with early learn­ing at home.

HANG UP: Par­ents are urged to spend less time on their phones

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