Headteacher claims iPads and iPhones are impeding children’s speech

The Mail is reporting warnings from a private school head that primary school children are now speaking like toddlers because their parents are ‘pacifying’ them with iPads instead of talking to them…

Jo Heywood said too many parents are failing to communicate with young children, instead filling their homes with digital devices to ‘keep them quiet’.

She said the problem, which happens ‘across the social spectrum’, was ultimately stunting children’s speech development.

And when they enter school aged five, some ‘cannot even talk’, with the communication skills of a two or three-year-old…

She said: ‘You only have to spend a few hours watching parents or carers in any high street in this land to see how addictive and time consuming mobile technology is for them.

‘I frequently see parents with prams juggling their childcare duties with texting or browsing the internet and having virtually no communication with their baby or toddler…

‘There is no social barrier to the parents I see doing this. This is a digital not a class issue. iPhones and iPads have become the new pacifiers…’

‘So the end result is that thousands of children are entering a primary school system with the communication skills of a 2 or 3 year old instead of a 4 or 5 year old,’ she said.

‘Some of them cannot even talk let alone be in a position to learn to read via a phonics system, many teachers have reported. This puts even more pressure on a primary system which is geared towards helping children read and write in the early years…’

More at: Headteacher said iPads and iPhones was impeding children’s speech


What do you think of these claims from Jo Heywood? Would you agree that too much tablet use might be impeding speech development amongst the current generation of 4 to 5 year olds? Please share your feedback in the comments or via Twitter…


Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link!

Parents protest over Oxted School academy plans
Teenager isolated over cancer charity haircut
Categories: Parenting, Primary and Technology.


  1. Paul_Gillam

    SchoolsImprove Ridiculous misrepresentation of course. The teacher said that parenting behaviours were to blame, not the iPad or iPhone….

  2. Paul_Gillam

    SchoolsImprove Ridiculous misrepresentation of course. The teacher said that parenting behaviours were to blame, not the iPad or iPhone….

  3. JeniHooper

    SchoolsImprove schools taking in younger children and may be inexperienced with the diversity communication development. #expectations

  4. Janet2

    Too sweeping a generalisation.

    But she’s right that some parents (not all) more occupied with chatting on their mobile than talking to their toddlers.  What would improve this situation?  This might sound daft but I would suggest a complete change in push chair design – toddlers face the person pushing the chair not away from them.  Looking at each other encourages communication.

  5. StephenG41HR

    SchoolsImprove This is a familiar problem to many involved with primary education. Its not a technology issue but parental engagement.

Let us know what you think...