Teachers issue video games warning
Violent computer games are having a damaging effect on the "tender young minds" of children, a teachers' union has warned.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) raised concerns about the negative impact of children spending hours a day playing computer games that are inappropriate for their age.
The warning came as a survey found more than a quarter of parents say their child gets less than half-an-hour of physical activity outside of school.
ATL members are due to debate a resolution at their annual conference in Manchester next week which says some computer games have a negative effect on very young children.
It calls for the union's executive to commission research which will allow it to lobby government for the introduction of "stringent legislation" on computer games.
ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: "I think what we are talking about, first of all, is the amount of time children spend locked in their room. 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."
Some of these games are "very violent", she said, and have an effect on "tender young minds" of children and young people. "If you have got a game in the house it's very difficult to police who's playing it," she said.
Age restrictions are "extremely difficult to enforce, just like films, like TV," she said. "The watershed tends to work quite well, but with online TV and video children and young people are probably watching inappropriate content over a range of media."
A survey of 1,000 parents, commissioned by the British Toy and Hobby Association, found that 28.2% say their child gets 30 minutes or less of physical activity after school.
Just 5.3% of parents said their child gets more than two hours of exercise outside school, while 14.5% said they get between an hour and an hour-and-a-half. Almost half of those questioned (45%) said their child should get an hour or more of exercise in a day.