Secondary students admit to smartphone addiction

Student Attitudes Index investigates device use, exercise and feeling on education loans

The third annual Student Attitudes Index indicates  60 per cent of students worry about how much they used their phones, but 80 per cent said they also used the devices for educational purposes.

The third annual Student Attitudes Index indicates 60 per cent of students worry about how much they used their phones, but 80 per cent said they also used the devices for educational purposes.

 

Almost half the children in Irish secondary schools say they are addicted to smartphones with even greater numbers admitting to routinely and secretly checking devices in class, according to a survey published this morning.

While the third annual Student Attitudes Index from website Studyclix.ie indicates that 60 per cent of students are worried about how much they used their phones, 80 per cent of more than 2,600 children polled said they also used the devices for educational purposes.

The survey found that Snapchat remains the most used social media platform, with Instagram pushing Facebook out of the number two slot and Twitter someway adrift in fourth place. Almost one in 10 students said they had a Tinder account.

The survey also questioned students on their attitudes to exercise, the gardaí, student loans and the controversy surrounding the National Maternity Hospital.

It revealed that girls in particular are turning their backs on exercise as they move up through the years at secondary school and suggests that 53 per cent of girls in sixth year do not participate in PE classes at all compared to just 15 per cent in second year.

Monthly payback

All told, 88 per cent of students said they would be prepared to pay back some money for student loans after college, with 24 per cent agreeing that somewhere between €150 and €160 a month would be acceptable.

Stressing about exams remains students’ biggest worry with 70 per cent identifying exams as the most stressful thing in their lives. Appearance was in second place on 11 per cent and family on 8 per cent.

The survey also revealed high levels of satisfaction with gardaí, with 73 per cent of students saying they trusted them. A further 60 per cent said the Government should intervene to stop the National Maternity Hospital being handed over to an order of nuns.

‘Teenage brain’

“As much as they would like to think otherwise, the teenage brain is not good at multitasking. Having a constant stream of messages and updates arriving on their smartphones is a major distraction to students trying to study,” Studyclix.ie founder Luke Saunders said.

Reacting to the survey, the head of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, Clive Byrne, recognised the importance of technology in the educational sphere but said many teachers were unaware of how easily students could be distracted by their mobile phones.

“My hunch is that many teachers don’t realise it is happening on the scale this survey suggests it is happening,” he said. “Maybe we need to be more reactive. I don’t think a blanket ban is the way forward, however, as there is little point in introducing a ban which is completely unenforceable.”