…exposing children to sexual & offensive content

  • 90% of girls and 50% of boys say they and their peers are sent explicit pictures or videos of things they do not want to see
  • 36% of children aged 8-17 said they had seen something ‘worrying or nasty’ online in the past 12 months

The Telegraph – We Must do Everything to Stop Children Watching Porn 6 December 2022

  • 51% of 11 to 13 year olds say they have seen pornography online

British Board of Film Classification Research, 2019

 …pressuring girls into sending sexual images of themselves

  • 80% of teenage girls are being put under pressure to provide sexual images of themselves
  • Girls are commonly contacted by multiple boys a night asking for ‘nudes’ (naked/ semi-naked images)

Review of Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges, Ofsted Report, 2021

…exposing children to sexual abuse & grooming

  • 1,058% increase since 2019 of webpages showing sexual abuse of 7-10 year old children

Sexual Abuse Imagery of Primary School Children 1,000% worse (…) The Internet Watch Foundation, 27 January 2023


…damaging children’s eyes

  • Children’s myopia risk (shortsightedness) is linked to smartphone use

Clinical and Experimental Optometry 25 May 2020

…contributing to obesity in children

…preventing children playing outside

Children spend twice as long looking at screens as playing outside

The Independent, 26 October 2018

…damaging development of children’s spine

  • Studies of young, healthy individuals show habitual use of smartphones causes musculoskeletal problems

UK’s Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, 2015

  • Paediatricians, chiropractors and physiotherapists are warning of “text neck syndrome”

The Influence on Smartphone Use on Spinal Posture, University of Toronto, 2021

 …stopping kids getting enough sleep



  • 46% of teens say they use their phones “almost constantly”

Teens, Social Media and Technology 2022 Pew Research Centre, 10 August 2022

…reducing children’s academic performance

  • Smartphones reduce memory and recall accuracy, even when not in use

Mobile Phones, the effects of its use on learning and memory, National Library of Medicine, 2020

  • Children who spend 5-7 hrs/day on a digital device are 49 points (equivalent of two school years) behind children who are on a screen <1hr/day

OECD Pisa Results 2022

…creating structural changes to children’s brains

  • MRI scans of young children shows screen time reduces the size of the brain areas responsible for visual processing, empathy, attention, complex memory and early reading skills

Screen Differences in Brain Structure in Young Children, Research Horizons Scientific Reports, 2022 


…responsible for the huge increase in cyberbullying

  • Children no longer have respite from bullies at home
  • 84% of bullying to children with smartphones happens online

84% of bullying in children with smartphones, takes place online. (Ofcom report- Threat of online bullying greater than online- 19 May 2022)

…increasing depression and anxiety in children

  • A 2023 study of 27,969 18-24 year olds found that mental health outcomes were significantly better the older the young person was when they got a smartphone.
  • Depression, feelings of aggression, suicidal thoughts, low self-confidence, poor self-image, detachment and weak relationships increase for every year younger a child is given a smartphone – even in those with no traumatic or adverse childhood experience

Sapien Labs: Age of first smartphone/tablet and mental wellbeing outcomes, 2023

…increasing loneliness in children

  • Loneliness has doubled in children since 2012
  • School loneliness is highest where access to smartphones and internet use is high

Worldwide increases in adolescent loneliness Science Direct, Journal of Adolescence , Volume 93, December 2021

…making children more likely to self-harm

  • 194% increase in emergency department visits for self-harm by 10-14 year olds girls (94% for boys)

US Centres for Disease Control, Zach Rausch, 2021

  • Up to 30% of teenage girls report purposefully hurting themselves without wanting to die in the last year

Non Suicidal Self Injury Study, American Journal of Public Health, 2015

The first generation of children who were given smartphones in primary school are now adults.

We now know for every year younger they were given smartphones by their parents, the worse their mental health is today.

Age of First Smartphone/Tablet and Mental Wellbeing Outcomes, Sapien Labs, May 2023


…hinder development of social skills and relationships

  • Children with smartphones spend longer in a virtual world without human interaction
  • The quality of family relationships and friendships decreases for every year younger a child is given a smartphone
  • Social Self – how we see ourselves and relate to others – shows the most significant and steepest improvement with older age
  • The daily average of 5-8 hours adds up to 1,000 to 2,000 hours a year that would otherwise be spent in face-to-face social interactions, learning and mastering these important skills and building strong relationships

Sapien Labs: Age of first Smartphone/ Tablet and Mental Wellbeing Outcomes. May 2023