Sophie Winkleman takes daughters out of a £20,000-a-year preparatory school once attended by their royal cousins Prince George and Princess Charlotte – after pupils are told they will have iPads in the classroom
- Parents are protesting the potentially harmful effects of screen time in schools
- Actor shares her concerns about the normalization of devices in education
Actor Sophie Winkleman said she took her children out of school twice when she learned they would be given iPads to use from the age of six.
Speak against The timesthe former Peep Show actress and half-sister of Claudia Winkleman revealed her concerns that devices handed out from a young age affected how children learned.
She said she “immediately started looking at different schools” when she heard that the students would be given “tablets, all from first to sixth year.”
Her children, Maud and Isabella, attended the exclusive £20,000-a-year Thomas’s Battersea with their cousins, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who have since left for a co-ed prep school in Berkshire.
She praised the south London institution, which in some cases charges more than £8,000 per semester, but said it did not suit her children and expressed concern over the use of online learning which is normalizing in British schools .
Sophie Winkelman (right) and her husband, Lord Frederick Windsor. Winkleman was concerned that the use of screens in schools is becoming ‘normalized’
Prince George and Princess Charlotte also previously attended the exclusive Thomas’s Battersea school, but have since left to attend another in Berkshire
“The internet is a toxic wilderness that we let kids stumble through unprotected,” said the actor, concerned about the accessibility of extremist content online.
Winkleman, who is married to Lord Frederick Windsor, son of Prince Michael of Kent, protested the adoption of digital learning in British schools, which she said she believed was being driven by parents.
She said her eldest daughter was allowed to use a tablet for a limited period of time on Sunday, and said she supported a parent group lobbying to ban smartphones for under-16s.
UNICEF warned that too much screen time for young people reduces empathy, as children need facetime without facetime to understand complex social signals.
The organization noted that exposure to screens reduces babies’ ability to read human emotions and manage their frustration.
A meta-analysis of studies looking at how young people watched TV and played games found that screen time ‘modestly associatedwith subsequent ADHD symptoms.
And a study of preschoolers found that more screen time was associated with worse inattention problems. The study claimed that preschoolers spent an average of two hours a day in front of screens.
Winkleman said that in an ideal world she would combat this by setting up a school for young people in London where screens would be completely banned – except, of course, in IT classes and in some maths classes.
School principals Tobyn Thomas and Ben Thomas said in a statement to parents: “I don’t underestimate for a minute the shocking and deeply disturbing nature of this news.”
The school was told on November 7 that their new hire – who only started his role in September – was under investigation by the National Crime Agency
The pandemic spurred research into the effectiveness of devices in the classroom, but parents still have differing views
Others have Shrugged the worries.
The jury is out on the effectiveness of digital tools in classrooms, even though the pandemic has produced a wealth of new research.
When classrooms went online, the students had to who suffered the most learning gaps were those without appropriate learning environments at home or the technology to work best in the classroom.
Pre-pandemic, researchers found there was “no significant difference” in student outcomes — as long as students had all the resources they needed.
MailOnline reached out to Thomas for comment.