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New research investigates children’s use of mobile devices

Today we launch new research ‘How Children Use Mobile Devices at School and at Home’. Over 7,000 students from 31 mobile-device using schools were interviewed for the research to understand young people’s use of these devices.

Today sees the launch of our latest research report: ‘How Children Use Mobile Devices at School and at Home’. Over 7,000 students from 31 mobile-device using schools were interviewed for the research to understand young people’s use of these devices.

Here are some of the most important aspects of the research:

Mobile devices in school

While schools want to support students’ use of technology for educational purposes, it is also important to restrict personal use:

  • Most implement an ‘acceptable use’ policy, setting out guidelines in order to encourage responsible use of the device at school, minimising potential disruption. See this example: www.thegrid.org.uk/eservices/safety/policies.shtml
  • Many of the mobile device using schools in the research also limit use of students’ personal smartphones
  • By limiting the use in school to approved devices rather than personal, the school can implement restrictions on device access such as internet filters. 87% of secondary and 81% of primary students said their schools had blocks on certain websites, restricting access to domains or apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

Risky behaviour and distraction still an issue

Despite huge efforts on the part of schools to ensure children stay safe online both at school and at home however, risky behaviour is still taking place:

  • 13% of primary pupils and 33% of secondary school-aged pupils play ‘Grand Theft Auto’ at home, despite its UK age rating of 18+
  • The number of pupils who admit to feeling distracted at home by other things on their mobile device while they are trying to do their homework increases with age

Device use affecting communication

Device use at home can affect family communication:

  • 39% of secondary school-aged pupils agree that they sometimes only communicate with their family at home through text messaging or social media
  • 38% say that they do not talk to their family because everyone is using a mobile device
  • 40% of secondary school-aged pupils and a 34% of primary school-aged pupils admit to sometimes feeling ‘addicted’ to the internet
  • 50% of primary and 70% of secondary school-aged pupils are taking an internet enabled device to bed with them, an increase on last year

Schools actively talk to students about e-safety

Our research shows that mobile device-using schools are actively talking to pupils about being safe online:

  • 93% primary and 89% of secondary school pupils say that their school talks to them about being safe online
  • 87% secondary and 81% of primary school pupils say that their school blocks access to certain websites or apps
  • Children taking part in the research believe that daily use of mobile devices in school for learning has increased their awareness of internet safety

Parents have a part to play

It is important to note that parents appear to have a key role to play in ensuring that their child uses the internet safely:

  • Pupils in families where there is more parental control over internet use at home (i.e. parents look at what their children are doing on the internet) are less likely to communicate with strangers online.
  • 41% of primary and 57% of secondary school pupils whose parents do not monitor their internet use admit to communicating with people they do not know on social media but this falls to 26% of primary and 39% of secondary school pupils for those whose parents do monitor their on-line use.

How Techknowledge for Schools can help

Responding to schools’ need for help and advice we have produced two E-Safety ‘Stay Safe Online!’ posters for schools and for pupils and a student charter (put together by students for students) which schools, students and parents can download below.

eSafety for Schools 07.10.15_001

Stay Safe Online – E-Safety Advice for Schools

Stay Safe Online Poster

Stay Safe Online – Top Ten Tips for Young People

Too Much Time Online Charter - By Students for Students

Too Much Time Online Charter – By Students for Students

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