And, she says, she has enough on her plate, dealing daily with the current crisis in adolescent mental health, without getting drawn into a broader argument about how to tackle its root causes.

Indeed, she confesses that two weeks ago she was so exhausted that she even contemplated giving up work altogether.

It’s has to be about balance, not banning.” Living so much in a virtual world has other negative consequences, she suggests.

It gives young users no time to reflect or learn about the consequences of their actions.

Kindness, compassion, ethics, it’s all out of the window when you are in this instantaneous gossip world with no time to think, and no time to learn about having relationships.” Parents also need to think about what example they set their children by their own attachment to their smartphones.

“We know all about the importance of childhood attachment and good healthy childhood relationships with parents.

“I believe that parents who don’t allow the Internet can cause as much damaged as parents who allow too much.

Their children are not able to work and play and be with the rest of the children in the playground.

“So if you are having a Whats App chat with your friends, and it all goes very wrong, you can say to them, 'I wish you were dead’.

Now perfectly nice children find themselves saying, 'I wish you were dead,’ because they haven’t got time to reflect, and then their words go everywhere.

• Are mobile addict parents guilty of child neglect?

Mums and dads who allow young teenagers to have smartphones – and she wouldn’t say yes until they were 14 - must also take a more active role in policing the use of them, she says, however unpopular it will make them with their offspring.

Suddenly everything got much more dangerous, much more immediate, much more painful.” • Children in Japanese city banned from using smartphones after 9pm • How to stop your children running up bills on an i Pad Official figures confirm the picture she paints, with emergency admissions to child psychiatric wards doubling in four years, and those young adults hospitalised for self-harm up by 70 per cent in a decade.