Headteachers from primary schools across St Albans have called for parents to delay buying smartphones for their children.

A letter sent to parents by heads in the St Albans primary schools consortium encouraged "all parents to delay giving children a smartphone" until they are 14 years old, suggesting they have a phone capable only of making texts and calls instead.

The letter read: "As headteachers we have committed to promoting our own schools as smartphone-free.

"We believe we can all work together across St Albans and join the growing movement across the country to change the 'normal' age that children are given smartphones."

The letter has been signed by headteachers from 20 of the 24 primary schools in St Albans.

Bim Afolami, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, recently gave his backing to the Smartphone Free Childhood campaign.

The letter continued: “We understand the importance of being able to contact your child as they become more independent, walking to and from school, in order to give you peace of mind and for children to be able to call in emergencies.


“Children’s phones do not need to have access to the internet in order for you to keep them safe however.

“The use of smartphones is now a feature of daily life for most adults and over the last few years the age at which children are given their first smartphone has dropped significantly.

"We know that in our schools some children as young as Key Stage 1 have smartphones. Whilst smartphones can be a very helpful piece of technology for adults, they can equally expose children to a number of negative risks.”

Justine Elbourne-Cload, co-chair of the consortium, said: "We understand this is not going to be an overnight success.

"But we think it's going to be something that grows over the next few years. There has been such a positive response that we think this is really starting to take hold around St Albans."