For what’s the point of being a forward looking politician if people are just getting along and solving shit without you?
“Smartphones are psychologically addictive, encourage narcissistic tendencies and should come with a health warning.” That was the conclusion of a recent University of Derby study which highlighted the disturbing downside to our digital obsession.
But it could be even worse than that. Smartphone addiction could be damaging educational standards and exacerbating inequality. Advanced digital technology is now an everyday component of classroom and community, but we need to think much smarter about its long-term impact.
As shadow Education Secretary, I have a recurring conversation in the schools I visit. Primary head teachers explain to me the challenge they face in getting their pupils up to the relevant level of progress, given their various developmental delays. In particular, more children are presenting with serious difficulties when it comes to speech and language. In disadvantaged communities, children’s ability to talk, to play, to interact is often markedly behind. When I ask if the condition is getting worse, all heads say yes – and they blame the iPhone.
Pupils not being up to speed in English might have more to do with the number of children from families which do not speak English. Which has been rising rather, hasn’t it?