A teacher has told how children are struggling to sit still in school after playing video games until the early hours during lockdown.

Beth Collins, deputy headteacher at Laurels Primary School in Worthing, told The Sunday Times that some of her pupils had shown “signs of becoming addicted to gaming” following their extended break from the school environment.

Schools were ordered to close in March to stop the spread of coronavirus, with the majority of children instead continuing their education through online resources or home schooling.

But a University of Sussex study released in July found that more than one in four of the primary school aged pupils surveyed were receiving just an hour on learning.

The closure of schools fed into the summer holidays, with many pupils now returning to their classrooms for the first time in almost six months.

And, it appears, much of this time may have been dedicated to their favourite games.

Ms Collins said: “I said to one child, ‘What is wrong?’.

“She was flicking with her fingers.

“She said, ‘I am missing my play console’. Children were talking about Fortnite. They were saying things like ‘I am missing my Roblox’.

“I asked how much they were playing with it. For some, it was all day, every day.

“I have encouraged teachers to drop everything and take them for a run when you see that twitching.”

A 2016 study published in the Annals of Neurology indicated that playing video games could offer some benefits for children but spending too much time on their favourite games console would have a detrimental effect.

The project led by Jesus Pujol, of the Hospital del Mar in Spain looked into the relationship between weekly video game use and certain cognitive abilities and conduct-related problems.

In a study of 2,442 children aged between seven and 11, it was found that playing on the games for one hour each week was associated with better motor skills and higher school achievement scores. No further benefits were observed when the children increased their playing time to two hours each week.

However, an increased amount of time spent gaming was linked with “conduct problems, peer conflicts and reduced social abilities”.

These negative effects were particularly prominent in children who were gaming for nine hours each week or more.

But video games have been used as a force for good health during the coronavirus pandemic.

The government joined forces with leading video games companies in April to share its “Stay At Home, Save Lives” message.

An example of this was when Activision Blizzard inserted the mantra into its mobile games, including the vastly popular Candy Crush Saga.