Teaching leaders have called for video game 'time-outs' after the Schools Health Education Unit report revealed one in five 14-15 year-old boys spend more than three hours a day playing on computers.

The vice president of the Association of School and College Leaders reported that there is "general concern [among practitioners] about the time youngsters spend interacting with screens".

Mike Griffiths added: "Some of these videos and interactive games are not very restful and won't [help] get a good night's sleep."

The SHEU report is based on thousands of surveys with schoolchildren aged ten to 15 and found that many children spend more time gaming than learning.

Commenting on parenting site Netmums, health visitor Maggie Fisher is concerned by the growing trend that is seeing more than a fifth of 14-15 year-olds admit they don't sleep enough to focus in school.

"Children and teenagers in particular are leading increasingly busy lives and we know this is leading to a sleep deficit," she said.

"Research shows for each hour of sleep lost, IQ drops by a point so the cumulative effect of lots of late nights can have a serious impact on teenagers' studies. We'd [like to see] all electronic devices switched off at least 30 minutes before bedtime."

Posted 23/07/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com