FEARS about technology addiction should not overshadow the chance to learn, according to experts and teachers.
However, parents are advised to take tablet computers away at bedtime in the wake of concerns that children are developing dependencies.
New studies have revealed almost half of all 14 and 15-year-olds feel they are addicted to the internet, with more than three-quarters of similarly aged pupils taking a web-enabled laptop, phone or tablet to bed at night, according to a survey.
The poll was carried out on behalf of Tablets for Schools, a charity led by technology industry groups such as Carphone Warehouse and Dixons, which campaigns for the increased use of iPad-like devices in education.
iPads and tablets have been made available to pupils at a number of East Lancashire schools, including Haslingden High, Accrington Academy and Pleckgate High.
Ged Mirfin, a Ribble Valley councillor, is a school governor and a former research manager at education technology firm Promethean. He said he supported children using devices such as Kindles at bedtime, but not using the internet.
He said: “Since my daughter started using her Kindle e-reader her reading has sky rocketed. She reads far more books now and often at bedtime. In that case I don’t see any difference between the Kindle and taking a book to bed.
“Kids have always been told off for reading too late, with a torch under the covers.
“I think it is different with iPads and laptops, though. Those link to the internet, which is interactive, and it can be an addictive thing.”
Haslingden High School headteacher Mark Jackson said they were aware pupils could get too attached to iPads.
He said: “We’ve just launched our scheme and it has been wonderfully effective. We too have seen reading levels increase because there is access to more material.
“However, we want the children to do this in class, or in our reading sessions. We don’t want it to take over their lives.
“We encourage children to get out, play sport and listen to music. I would definitely encourage parents to keep an eye on the matter and make sure they are not plugged in at all hours.”