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29th Aug 2023

Majority of parents want phones banned in all schools


Could this reduce the risk of cyber-bullying and access to dangerous content among students?

A huge majority of parents are ‘for’ banning mobile phones completely in primary and secondary school settings, according to a new survey.

The survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) shows a staggering 84% of parents in favour of getting rid of the electronic devices during learning.

This comes after UNESCO, the UN ‘s education, science and culture agency recommended that only technology that supports learning should be merited in schools.

It says that mobile devices can cause distraction, risk pupil privacy and lead to cyber bullying.

723 parents were surveyed, with key findings from the survey showing:

  • 84% of school parents support a ban on mobile phones in all schools throughout the day.
  • Parents of primary school children were more likely to favour a ban on mobile phones in schools (88%) compared to 77% of secondary school parents.
  • Over-use and time spent on mobile phones are parents’ biggest concerns, around their child and their mobile phone, accounting for 30% of responses.
  • 23% were concerned about access to inappropriate content and bullying is also a significant concern for 19% of parents.

Despite these concerns, mobile phones are very commonly owned by children, with 62% of parents saying their child has a mobile phone.

Primary school parents reported an average age of 10.7 for when their child was given their first phone.

Meanwhile, secondary school parents reported 13.5 as the average age.

For primary parents, the top reasons for their child not owning a phone include concerns about being too young (89%), safety (36%), and privacy (22%).

Secondary parents expressed worries about their child’s privacy (60%) and safety (51%), with 38% concerned about excessive screen time.

Speaking about these findings, David Malone, CEO of the Irish League of Credit Unions said: “As a community-focused organisation, we value the importance of healthy educational environments for our young people.

“It is crucial that we support measures that prioritise the well-being and academic performance of our children and the ILCU survey shows support among parents for a ban on mobile phones in schools during the day.

“Together with the UNESCO Report, our research shows that there is a compelling case for school trustees and indeed the Department of Education, in consultation with parents, to review the use of mobile phones in the school environment.”