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Over half of parents believe smartphones should be banned at school

PUBLISHED: 08:03 04 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:57 05 September 2018

Half of parents believe smartphones should be banned inside schools. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire.

Half of parents believe smartphones should be banned inside schools. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire.

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More than half of parents believe smartphones should be banned inside school, a new survey has revealed.

Almost six in 10 parents (59pc) said they think pupils should not be allowed to have their phones in school.

But just under half (49pc) believe children should be allowed to carry them to and from school.

“Our research finds that 72pc of children in Year 7 have a smartphone and suddenly they’ll have the world at their fingertips,” said Carolyn Bunting, chief executive of Internet Matters - who commissioned the survey as part of its Back To School campaign.

“Giving a child a smartphone can give parents peace of mind and it offers children fantastic opportunities to learn, communicate and explore. But if children aren’t prepared - they can face many digital challenges including managing friendship groups, pressure to have social media or even pressure to play certain games.

“Parents have a major role to play in equipping their children with the right tools to navigate their online world - especially during this pivotal moment when they’re facing a raft of change.”

Of the 2022 parents surveyed, almost a quarter (27pc) said phones should be permitted during break time, while 34pc could accept them being used during lunch time.

The findings come as French students return to school with a new smartphone ban in place this September, meaning anyone aged between three and 15 will have to leave their devices at home or switch them off at school.

Speaking to Matthew Gudgin on BBC Radio Norfolk this morning, headteacher of Reepham High School, Tim Gibbs, explained that enforcing a ban on mobile phones a year ago at the school had made a difference to the student’s learning.

“Mobile phones are no longer an issue here,” he said. “It was an easy and simple decision to make.”

Mr Gibbs said the decision to ban mobile phones meant the pupils had more interaction with each other, there was a reduction in the “distraction factor” during lesson time, and it allowed the school to “lead the way” in supporting parents helping to reduce screen time and the time spent on social media.

The ban on mobile phones at Reepham High is enforced in the high school only and not for Sixth Form students. And although the phones are banned during school hours, they are not physically removed from the pupils as long as they are left switched off and unused in their bags.

Mr Gibbs added that parents had also supported the ban.

As new starters begin secondary school, the survey also showed that the majority of parents are concerned about the pressures of digital life on their children.

One in seven (71pc) said they are worried about their child being pushed into sharing images or video, and 73pc are anxious about their child’s ability to manage online relationships.

Cyberbullying is also a cause of concern for eight out of 10 parents, with 68pc worried about their child feeling the strain of having the latest device.

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