A young woman checks her smartphone outside a job centre in Leicester
A young woman checks her smartphone outside a job centre in Leicester [Reuters].

Smartphones are destroying young people's desire to work, according to the founder of a 'boot camp' for the long-term unemployed.

Will Davies, who runs property maintenance business aspect.co.uk, recently started a bootcamp for unemployed young people, providing them with skills essential for the jobs market. He claims that fewer young people are applying for entry-level positions at his company, and those that do apply lack essential skills.

With record levels of youth unemployment in the UK, he believes that iPhones are partly to blame for the indolence of some of today's youth.

"The iPhone is always on," said Davies. "Always in the background. Always more important than getting off your backside and getting to work for many young people.

"The latest batch of young people lack any drive or desire to work - largely thanks to the warm, punch-drunk, sedated feeling of being permanently online to their friends on the internet."

In Davies's bootcamps, young unemployed people compete for internships in a series of tests, some physical, and some designed to test numeracy and literacy. The camp featured on Channel 4 News.

He believes that the smartphone generation has grown up lacking the competitive edge of schoolchildren from previous decades.

"There is no need or desire for a young adult to strive anymore, to apply for a job where they are forced to confront the emotion of failure.

"The concept of physical exertion is also completely alien. Why use muscle, when you can click for whatever you want with an iPhone or iPad?

"Instead young people are permanently encased in foetal fluid like a baby in their mother's womb checking their iPhone or smartphone device for pointless messages and updates."

Though scientific studies have yet to be conducted on the negative effects of smartphone use on the young, experts agree that spending time glued to a screen checking updates on social networking sites and emails can have adverse consequences.

"Over-use of these devices and a tendency to replace traditional means of social interaction with social networking tools disconnects us from society and may also retard or harm our overall developmental skills, particularly if we are exposed to them at an early age," writes Jason Perlow, technology editor at ZDNet and technology strategist with Microsoft.

In his book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains, Nicholas Carr argues that while browsing the internet for information might make us better at multi-tasking, it "diminishes the ability to sustain focus and think interpretatively."

A leading laser eye surgeon recently said that he believed smartphones to be responsible for rising rates of myopia in young adults and children.

In a recent study, OfCom found that young people use their smartphones more intensively than older users, with more than half of teenagers now owning a device.