Focus on children, not smartphones, Education Secretary tells families
PARENTS must not let their smartphones, iPads and tablets get in the way of spending time with their children, the Education Secretary has said.
Damian Hinds acknowledged that the pressures of “work and the modern world” mean it is “far from easy” for parents to put down their gadgets.
While he does not wish to “lecture” parents about how to raise their children, he said it is a “persistent scandal” that many youngsters start school unable to talk in proper sentences.
He said: “As the vast majority of children’s time is spent at home, we need to think about how we support parents with learning in the home environment. This could be seen as the last taboo in education, and certainly no one wants to be lecturing parents. But 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.”
Currently, 28 per cent of five-yearold children are unable to read or speak in proper sentences, a proportion Mr Hinds intends to halve by 2028.
He will hold a summit this week for tech companies, businesses and chari- ties to discuss ways to help parents nurture their children’s early development. This could include coming up with activities for families such as songs, poems and games that encourage children to speak and learn new words.
Mr Hinds said that when considering the amount of time children spend glued to a screen, parents must also think about their own behaviour.
“As a parent, I’m also 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,” he said.
“The pressures of work and the modern world mean putting phones away is far from easy but I think it’s an important area to talk about, particularly as we consider ways to support parents with children’s learning at home.” is a member of the Independent
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