Joanna Lumley has criticised the way that British children are brought up with “slack” morals.
The actress, 64, said the younger generation needed to be given greater responsibilities.
She told the Radio Times: “There was one ‘crime’ during the whole time I was at school, when a fountain pen went missing. Stealing just didn’t happen.”
She went on: “I was taught not to shoplift, not to steal, not to behave badly. We weren’t even allowed to drop litter.”
Joanna, who went to a boarding school, complained: “We are very slack with our moral codes for children these days. Nowadays, children find it laughably amusing to shoplift and steal.
“We smile when they download information from the internet and lazily present it as their own work. We allow them to bunk off school and bring in sick notes.”
The former Absolutely Fabulous star recalled seeing “quite small children take on huge responsibilities” while making programmes around the world and added: “In Ethiopia… you might find a seven-year-old expected to take 15 goats out into the fields for the whole day with only a chapati to eat and his whistle.
“Why are we so afraid to give our children responsibilities like this?”
She added: “I think laptops should be banned from schools. Until you can prove you can add up on your fingers or think independently in your head, you have learnt nothing.”
The grandmother-of-two, who is narrating Enid Blyton tale The Cheat on Radio 4, said: “I think we’re leading our children into a false paradise. We’re not teaching them how to apply themselves and be present, how to accomplish a job and finish it, how to learn other languages and actually achieve a trade.”