School and technology: Young Brits want social media lessons and smartphone limits

Ahead of the new academic year next week, young Brits are calling for tighter rules and awareness around the use of smartphones and social media in schools, according to new research.

The study, from Nominet, comes as it is reported that leaked documents reveal a raft of new education measures are set to be announced, which include a crackdown on student behaviour through banning of mobile phones.

The study shows that six in ten 18-24 year olds (60%) think there should be a national policy on limiting access to smartphones and social media in schools.

Almost seven in ten (68%) also want lessons on how to safely use social media and messaging apps included in the national curriculum.

With children across most of the UK returning for a new academic year next week, the findings reflect how young people’s lives have been affected by technology, particularly social media – an area which over half (56%) of 18-24 year olds believe negatively affects children.

Banning, or limiting access to smartphones during the school day, and providing lessons on the pitfalls of social media could help alleviate some of the bullying, mental health and societal issues many young people are worried about.

These include:

· Over a third (37%) of 18-24s say they have been negatively affected by social media

· 30% say they have been bullied via social media, and 65% know people that have been victims

· 43% say they feel under pressure to impress friends and followers online

· Almost three quarters (74%) say social media is driving fake news, and 78% think fake news changes how people vote (up from 67% and 70% in 2017 respectively)

· 55% think social media is creating more social and political divides in society than not

· 58% believe technology is destroying the art of conversation

Despite their concerns over social media, young people remain positive overall about technology, with 76% of 18-24s saying it has helped in all areas of their lives.

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