Parents should be given official advice warning them not to give their children smartphones before they reach secondary school, a leading psychiatrist has warned.
Dr Jon Goldin claimed parents are being forced into buying the devices for their young children so they aren’t left out at school.
The vice chairman of the Royal College of Psychologists said government guidance on when to give smartphones to children would help parents stand their ground.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he said: ‘Children often say to their parents: “All my friends are [getting phones] and you are not allowing me to do that.”
‘In that situation, parents do need the support of national guidance.
‘I don’t think we can legislate [to restrict it to under 11s] but this guidance would back parents up when they are having conversations with their 10-year-olds.’
Dr Goldin also called on the government to recommend that children under 11 should be restricted to two hours a day on social media.
He said social media makes children anxious and depressed, and time spent online can leave them vulnerable to cyberbullying.
The psychiatrist called on social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter to make it more difficult for young people to lie about their age and create accounts before they turn 13.
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