A four-year-old child from Southend On Sea has been TAKEN INTO CARE by social services staff and police officers after their parents revoked access to an iPad for 24 hours.
The child, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, reportedly told a teacher that the punishment had been handed out at home because they had repeatedly said the word ‘bugger’ after hearing it in an episode of Coronation Street.
Karen Sparrowhawk is the Public Liaison Officer for Southend Child Services and Premises Licencing, and she explained the case to our Chief Reporter.
She said: ‘The child made a disclosure to their teacher at school that triggered their internal safeguarding procedure, and so it was followed up through the relevant channels.’
‘An allegation was made that the child’s parents told them that they wouldn’t be allowed to use their iPad for 24 hours. This was apparently a punishment for repeatedly using a mild swear word at home.’
‘Under the latest UNICEF guidelines relating to the mental and emotional wellbeing of children in a family environment, this would now fall under the category of ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’ and so my team carried out a thorough investigation.’
‘Once the parents had confirmed that it was an accurate account of events, we applied to the local court for a warrant to remove the child and place them into protective custody.’
‘Evidence has showed that even a brief enforced period of zero access to an electronic tablet can have devastating consequences in later life when a child is already used to regular sessions on there.’
‘It is also clear that their educational development can be severely hindered, which amounts to cruelty on behalf of the parents.’
‘Just so other parents can be clear in the future if this situation occurs, we would suggest that removing tablet access completely is a very risky move.’
‘As an alternative, children could be punished by saying that they can continue to use the iPad, but without access to any paid apps or game credits.’
‘The experience of getting stuck on level 49 of Candy Crush Saga for hours on end will be harsh enough to remind them of the need for good behaviour at home and at school.’