A former minister yesterday told how his daughter texted him from her bedroom asking him what was for dinner, as he warned that children were glued to their mobile phones.
Tory MP Tim Loughton said families were not talking to each other any more because children were addicted to social media.
He said face-to-face communication had never been more ‘rare and remote’ and that many young people could no longer get up in the morning without putting pictures of their breakfast on sites such as Instagram.
Speaking during a Commons debate on young people’s health, the former children’s minister also warned that social media was ‘not conducive’ to young people’s mental health.
In a sign of the times, he said: ‘I had an example recently where one of my daughters, I won’t name which one, basically put in her request for supper by text message and she was in her bedroom, to my wife and I in the kitchen.’
He joked that his response was: ‘Supper’s off.’
Recent figures showed children who spend more than three hours each school day on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are more than twice as likely to have poor mental health.
A report from the Office for National Statistics showed that 12 per cent of children who spend no time on social networking websites have symptoms of mental ill health. But the figure rose to 27 per cent for those who were glued to the websites for three hours or more a day. A survey of 2,000 British parents earlier this year found adults typically send 5,800 texts and 260 emails to their partner and children each year – but they spend less than an hour with each other every day.