Parents are urging the council to help make schools smartphone-free.

Residents across Brighton and Hove have started a petition to voice their concerns over the impact the technology is having on teenagers and young children.

In the petition on Change.org, parents have submitted a copy of a letter which was sent to Jo Lyons, head of education at Brighton and Hove City Council.

In the letter, parents urge the council to recommend new school guidelines that support reducing phone use among children both inside and outside of school.

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Natalie Dean, who started the petition, wrote: "We propose that the council encourages schools to adopt guidelines recommending that parents delay providing smartphones to their children until they are older and promote the use of basic mobile phones or smartwatches that allow parents to stay in contact with their children without exposing them to the risks associated with smartphones.

"We urge the council alongside this to potentially launch an educational campaign aimed at informing parents about the potential dangers of early smartphone usage.

"This campaign could include arranging workshops, and collaborating with local schools to disseminate this vital information through a variety of channels."

Parents also want the council to provide resources and support to schools so these new guidelines will be implemented effectively.

They also want teachers and staff to undergo training sessions and for parents to be given a platform where they can share their concerns and experiences.

Natalie said: "We believe that with the council's backing, we can foster a community that prioritises the healthy development of our young people and mitigates the risks associated with early smartphone use."

The petition received almost 1,000 signatures within 24 hours.

The petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/smartphone-free-schools-for-brighton-and-hove.

One supporter, Deirdre Forrest, said: "As a teacher of 25 years l have found the smartphone a great distraction in a classroom. 

"The power and impact of social media over their lives and access to disturbing sites that can negatively influence young minds is too easily accessible and potentially damaging to development."

Another supporter Rebecca Fisher said: "Smart phones are not only very addictive and distracting but they are seen as a status symbol amongst teens and can cause a lot of anxiety for young people and families that cannot afford the latest iPhone."

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “We are on hand to offer support and guidance to our local school community in a range of areas, but a decision on smartphone use in schools is currently up to individual schools, their headteacher, leadership teams, and governors.

“Each school provides parents and guardians with guidance on smartphone use during the school day, taking into account a range of different factors.

“As a local authority we take the wellbeing of young people in the city very seriously and earlier this year agreed £200,000 in funding for a new programme providing in-school mental health support to young people.”