Tristram Hunt goes Wibble, Wibble

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.

Yeah, right.

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?

12 thoughts on “Tristram Hunt goes Wibble, Wibble”

  1. I wouldn’t be so quick to pooh-pooh the idea of screens also being to blame.

    In the old days, the non-English speaking kids would have been down the park every evening messing around and learning pretty quick. Now everyone is holed up staring at their screens and pushing pretty buttons.

    (I was mildly shocked when family-in-law turned up for holiday and before even unpacking, sitting down or having a drink, wanted to know what the password for the Wifi was.)

    Sign me up with the Luddites…

  2. ‘When I ask if the condition is getting worse, all heads say yes – and they blame the iPhone.’

    Did he really expect them to say ‘Nah, mate, it’s us, we’re shit at our jobs, innit?’..?

  3. Kids in disadvantaged communities can afford iPhones? They’re spending £550 on an iPhone instead of a £150 Android phone?

    Maybe we need a bit more austerity.

  4. JuliaM,

    There are some bad schools and bad teachers, but bad parents and bad kids are a much bigger problem. A friend of ours taught in a poor area of Hertfordshire and had kids coming into reception class who had no idea about how books worked. She had a Muslim father who openly stated that he didn’t care about his daughter being educated. She also had a lot of parents doing their best, but a fairly small number of kids can drag down your scores.

  5. As uncle Joe (a admirable socialist if todays first piece is to be believed) used to say

    “Beat,beat,beat”.

  6. “She had a Muslim father who openly stated that he didn’t care about his daughter being educated.”

    Just the sort of chap this country desperately needs. Let’s import another half a million.

  7. Has Tristram Rhyming-Slang gone off message here? Surely the problem is AUSTERITY!!! and TORY CUTS!!

    Even mentioning that some poor pupils from the rich tapestry can’t speak English even though they have Iphones is probably a bit risky.

    I suppose he can say that he’s having a go at unfeeling capitalism for providing people with what they want rather than what he wants them to have but he’s still taking a bit of a risk here.

  8. Ben S said:

    Now everyone is holed up staring at their screens and pushing pretty buttons.

    If they are immigrants then the devices could exacerbate this by being in their native language.

    Clearly the answer is taxpayer funded, BBC branded devices locked to only the native UK languages.

  9. Bloke not in Cymru

    These would be the smart things that we are also told will be the saviour of education and every child should be given one.
    One aspect of the ridiculous mobile prices in Canada as far as I can see is that very few kids have phones, in my 12 year olds clad there are only 2 that have phones. Though if you count the number that have iPods/pads that use iMessage and FaceTime that number is higher.

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