Schools chief urges internet ban for the under-11s

The former head of one of Britain’s top schools has called on parents to be “stricter and tougher” to prevent their children from becoming addicted to the internet or falling victim to online bullying. This is from the Sunday Times

Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council and a former headmaster of Harrow School, said parents should refuse to buy smartphones, iPads or computers for children under the age of 11 and take greater responsibility for monitoring what teenagers do online.

“Parents need to be stricter, they need to be tougher,” he said. “You do not need to give your five-year-old a smartphone or let 10-year-olds spend seven hours a day on the computer, or put a TV and a computer in teenagers’ bedrooms.

“Children will misuse the technology if it is not carefully controlled. Parents matter hugely because most of the abuse is not happening in classrooms, but in private houses.”

Last week a survey revealed that almost one in 10 children has a mobile phone by the age of five and that parents spend an average of £125 a year on electronic gadgets for youngsters.

More at:  Schools chief urges iBan for the under-11s (subscription required) 

Do you think Barnaby Lenon’s proposals are realistic? Or is he absolutely right that, ultimately, it is parents who must do much more to prevent internet addiction and/or abuse? Please share your thoughts on this issue in the comments or on twitter… 

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  1. 5N_Afzal

    I agree that under 11s don’t need a smartphone. If you’re giving a phone to an under 11 make it a basic one. There should be no televisions or computers in bedrooms. If we are to protect our children we all have to take responsibility and no leave it to others.

  2. LearnWLesley

    SchoolsImprove it is down to parents to ensure children use the Internet safety. Schools can only guide monitor usage at school.

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Agree with not giving kids smartphones etc at that age but why ban the internet altogether? That could be detrimental

  4. LearnWLesley

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove totally agree again:) the Internet is here to stay we shouldn’t fear it but b smart about it

  5. gasman_g

    SchoolsImprove Odd, but he doesn’t seem to suggest “banning” anything in that piece… maybe in the full article, but I can’t see that…?

  6. gasman_g

    SchoolsImprove Which is not unreasonable…? All parents should monitor what their children are doing to some extent

  7. SchoolsImprove

    gasman_g Indeed although it gets harder and harder as the number of devices that can get online proliferates!

  8. gasman_g

    SchoolsImprove True – plenty of software tools that can help… very analgous to how we give children freedom in other areas too

  9. morris_emma

    SchoolsImprove Typical knee jerk reaction. No, 5 year olds don’t need a smartphone but using tech is their world. Move with the times.

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