Ireland’s young students are hooked on smart phones — using them regularly behind teachers’ backs during lessons — and worried they are becoming addicted to the devices, according to a major annual survey of their habits and attitudes.
The survey also showed an alarming decline in student exercise, with girls shown to be turning their backs on exercise as they move up through the years at secondary school.
The 3rd Annual 2017 Studyclix.ie Student Attitudes Index focused on smart phone use, exercise, trust in the gardai, the issue of paying back student loans and social media. Questions were answered by 2,600 plus students between May 9 and May 15.
Studyclix.ie is Ireland’s largest study website, used by 90,950 registered secondary school student users and 26,000 registered secondary school teacher users.
Among the key findings are:
- 60% of students are worried that they use their smart phones too much; 45pc say they are ‘addicted’ to them.
- 54% of students admit to checking phones in class when the teacher is not looking even though most schools ban the devices from lessons.
- Snapchat is the most popular social media platform, with Instagram pushing Facebook out of the No.2 slot.
- More than half of all 6th year girls (53%) do not participate in PE classes compared to just 15% of 2nd years.
- 76% of students say they would be prepared to pay back some money for student loans after college with 39pc saying repayments of between €150 and €170 would be ok.
- 71% would not like President Trump to visit Ireland.
- 76% would like to see a United Ireland (after Brexit raised issues about Northern Ireland staying in the UK or EU).
- 73% of students trust the Gardai, despite recent scandals.
Speaking about the results in general, Studyclix.ie Co-Founder Luke Saunders said: “As a teacher myself, I think that the prevalence of smart phones in schools is the biggest challenge facing our profession. Like most of us, teenagers feel the need to check their phone repeatedly throughout the school day. It doesn’t surprise me that more than half checked their phone in class in the last seven days.
“There are positives and negatives to online activity. It is good that students have a wide-reaching support network; this lessens the chances of them feeling isolated and overwhelmed by exam pressure. It also demonstrates the possibility of the emergence and existence of new and innovative ways to study.
“On the issue of exercise, I was shocked to see the extent of the drop off with 53pc of girls not actively participating in PE by 6th year. I was already aware that there is a tendency for girls to “drop” PE in senior cycle years although it is mandatory at least one class a week in most schools.”