No phones or gadgets for my family on holiday, defence minister says

Tobias Ellwood - Rii Schroer

Tobias Ellwood banned his family from using all mobile devices on their latest holiday, as he fears we are all “addicted” to our gadgets.

The Defence Minister, who has two young sons with his wife Hannah, spoke of his concerns that children spend hours on their phones and computers.

Mr Ellwood said: “I just went on holiday with my family and I banned all these items - iPads, phones and so forth - for the entire week in order to try and break away from their use.

“If you think how many hours our kids use these things [for], it is a fundamental change. I worry that it is affecting the ability of youngsters to communicate with each other.”

The minister told Niall Paterson in an interview on Sky: “When you and I grew up, these things didn’t exist. There wasn’t this challenge as to how much time our kids would spend on these things nor how they were managed as well.”

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He added that social media companies have a responsibility to protect children online from harmful content.

“The companies themselves have a responsibility to act and if they don’t, they have a period now to get their house in order,” he said.

Today the Government announced that online giants such as Facebook and Twiter have one week to explain what actions they have taken to cut underage use and cyber bullying, or face greater regulation.

“If they fail to do that then absolutely it’s right for government to step in,” Mr Ellwood said.

The MP was hailed a hero after last year’s Westminster attack, when he tried in vain to save the life of Pc Keith Palmer after he was stabbed while on duty at the gates of the Palace of Westminster.