More than half of pupils ‘addicted’ to their phone

Teenagers stressed about school, looks, and family, drink regularly and believe they will have to emigrate

More than half of pupils ‘addicted’ to their phone

Irish teenagers are stressed about school, addicted to their phones, drink regularly, and feel they will have to leave the country in order to get a job, according to a new study.

The survey of almost 5,000 users of found that 56% of second-level students feel school has been the most stressful thing in their life over the last year, with 10% of students admitting their looks or their family caused them the highest levels of stress.

Four out of 10 feel they will have to emigrate in order to get a job.

More than half of the students surveyed (55%) feel they are ‘addicted’ to their phones. Some 49% admitted to checking their phone in class once the teacher’s back was turned.

While just 3% of students smoke, more than four in 10 said they drink regularly. Some 88% of first-year students say they never drink and 6% claim to drink only on special occasions.

For Leaving Certificate students, 19% said they never drink and 65% drink on special occasions.

A quarter of all students said they have witnessed cyberbullying in the last school year. The highest rate of cyberbullying was found in Wicklow and Westmeath, with a figure of 38%, followed by Wexford (35%), and Offaly (32%). Roscommon had the lowest at 17%. Some 26% of students in Dublin had witnessed cyberbullying, with Cork (28%), Limerick (25%), and Galway (18%).

The most used social media platform among students is still Facebook, with 81% of those surveyed active on the platform. The second-most popular channel is picture-sharing app Snapchat at 80%. Instagram is third at 68%, while Twitter trails in fourth at 53%.

Some 13% of students surveyed have a profile on the online-dating site Tinder; 6% of students at junior level (12- 15-year-olds) also have a profile on the site, with the figure increasing to 24% of males and 15% of females in Leaving Certificate. Cork has the most students on Tinder, at 22%.

Regarding social issues, eight out of 10 students responded positively to the changes proposed in the same-sex marriage referendum, while 43% said they do not think the voting age should be lowered.

In terms of education, 43% of students feel Irish should remain a compulsory subject, with the highest level of support found in Galway at 65%. Some 61% feel religion should not be a compulsory subject, in spite of the role the Catholic Church has played in Irish education.

Studyclix co-founder Luke Saunders said while students were using mobile phones to aid study, it was difficult to safeguard against the dangers of widespread access to mobile phones.

“I was very shocked to discover that 13% of our students surveyed have an active profile on the Tinder dating app, some as young as 13 years old, which calls into question online safety for our students,” he said.

“The rates of cyberbullying were high as well, and perhaps unusually seemed to increase outside of the urban centres, which suggests to me that we have a long battle ahead when it comes to tackling this and other online issues.”

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