Education & Family

Parents ignore computer game restrictions, says ATL union

Girl playing computer game
Image caption Dr Bousted said very young children were increasingly playing computer games

Parents are ignoring age restrictions and allowing their children to play potentially damaging violent computer games, a teachers' leader says.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers raises concerns about children spending hours a day playing inappropriate computer games.

ATL head Dr Mary Bousted acknowledged such activities could be difficult to police.

But added that parents needed reminding of their duties

Members of the union are due to debate a resolution at their annual conference in Manchester next week, which calls for tougher legislation with regard to such games.

'Very serious'

Dr Bousted said some of these games were "very violent" and could have an effect on "tender young minds of children and young people".

And she was sure her conference would hear how parents are ignoring age restrictions of computer games.

She told reporters: "Of course, they're extremely difficult to enforce, just like films, like TV.

"It's about reminding parents and carers that they have a very real responsibility for their children and that schools can't do it alone.

"It takes the very serious and labour-intensive business of proper care and attention of young children before they go to school and while at school to allow them to learn most effectively.

"If they're up to 12 or one o'clock playing computer games, and coming to school exhausted, not interacting with other children, that's not good preparation for school, and not good preparation for life."

She added: "The fact that children spend hours locked in their rooms playing computer games, which means they're not interacting, they're not playing and not taking exercise."

The motion calls for the union's executive to commission research which will allow it to lobby government for the introduction of more "stringent legislation" on computer games.

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