Tablets like 'digital dummies' to kids

Parents use technology as a "digital dummy" to keep children calm and occupied until late at night. But at what cost to their education?

Smartphones and tablets are abused by parents who want an easy way to keep their kids entertained, according to one of Britain's leading head teachers.

Bernadette Hunter, president of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said UK children are left in their bedrooms late at night with mobile technology connected to broadband.

She said it is disrupting their sleep patterns and affecting their schoolwork.

"Children are coming into school tired because they've stayed up late watching TV or playing electronic devices in their rooms. The parents aren't monitoring that and aren't even realising they're coming to school tired," Hunter added.

Speaking at the NAHT's annual conference in Birmingham, she said parents use smartphones and tablets like a "digital dummy" to make their own lives easier.

"It's a soother, it's a pacifier - they know it'll keep them quiet," she added.

Earlier this month, research by Microsoft found that over a quarter of children have made at least one app-based transaction using their parents' card details without their knowledge.

It's estimated these unauthorised in-app purchases have cost the UK's mums and dads a grand total of £30million. However, the survey also found 17% of parents share their online passwords with their kids.

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