Survey: Majority of primary schools have problems with smartphone and social media use outside of school

Survey: Majority of primary schools have problems with smartphone and social media use outside of school
File photo.

A recent survey of primary school principals has highlighted the dramatic impact smartphones and social media usage can have on their schools.

An ESRI report has found that 40% of children own a mobile phone by the age of nine. This has resulted in primary schools having to define a strategy on the use of mobile phones in their schools, with 84% of primary schools implementing such a policy.

The survey also found that 1% of primary schools do allow pupils to use their mobile phones in school, while 38% of respondents said that they do allow pupils to have their mobile phones while in school but they are not allowed to be used during school hours.

A further 61% specified that mobile phones are not allowed on school premises.

Even though 99% of primary schools do not allow mobile phones to be used during school hours, 34% of respondents revealed that staff have encountered problems as a result of smartphone and social media use in school. Furthermore, 68% said that they have encountered problems as a result of smartphone / social media use outside of school.

IPPN President, David Ruddy said: "Technology and smartphone usage can have huge advantages on society when used in a constructive or creative way. However, it can also be a means to facilitate negative encounters for young people.

More often than not, the onus is put on schools to resolve these issues even though they have occurred outside of school hours on a personal device."

"Parents that choose to purchase a smartphone for their child, also need to take responsibility and contribute to the education of their children on the use of smartphones and social media on a social level as well as a developmental level."

This survey was carried out ahead of the largest gathering of primary school principals in Europe, at the upcoming IPPN Annual Principals’ Conference tomorrow and Friday in Citywest Convention Centre in Dublin.

The IPPN said it encourages a collaborative approach by schools, parents and pupils to formulate a smartphone policy.

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