Byline: Beverley Lyons, EDITED BY MELANIE HARVEY
THE lack of children playing out on the streets made former head teacher Sue Palmer stop and think on her return to Scotland after 20 years away.
Despite being thrilled to return to her adopted home of Edinburgh, Sue, 65, was saddened by its absence.
She said: "Kids use to play out all the time. Scots have always had a hardy attitude about going out in the rain and cold, but that had changed due to influences of technology and media panic about certain dangers."
Having spent 15 years teaching and writing more than 200 books on literacy and education, Sue put pen to paper again.
Now she has delivered a call for action, having written Toxic Childhood - about the effects of technology on child development - and the follow-up 21st Century Girls, examining the damaging effects of a modern culture.
In her new book she focuses on the commercialisation of childhood and the ease of access given to children by companies to sell their products.
She said: "It's looking at the access technology gives to commercial forces, which affect children's development and self-image. Living a virtual life and not mixing as much socially is bound to have an effect.
"As well as a deterioration of attention span and language development, one of the most distressing things has been a serious decline in empathy."
Sue Palmer's new book 21st Century Girls is published by Orion on March 7 priced PS12.99.
Info Sue's five tips 1 During the first three to seven years keep it real. Make sure there is the chance to play out with real people.
2 Use media as little as possible before two and have no more than a couple of hours screen time a day after that.
3 Avoid letting commercial forces become the main …