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Most parents want smartphone ban in schools

Concern that smartphones can add to the pressure on children, as they start secondary school

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Concern that smartphones can add to the pressure on children, as they start secondary school

More than half of parents believe that smartphones should be banned inside school, according to a survey.

Almost six-in-10 parents (59 per cent) say they think pupils should not be allowed to carry their mobiles around in school, but just under half (49 per cent) believe children should be allowed to carry them to and from school.

"Our research finds that 72 per cent 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, which 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 2,022 parents surveyed, almost a quarter (27 per cent) think phones should be permitted during breaktime, while 34 per cent would accept them being used during lunchtime.

The findings come as French students return to school with a new smartphone ban in place this September, meaning anyone aged 3-15 will have to leave their devices at home or switch them off at school.

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

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

Cyber-bullying is also a cause for concern for eight out of 10 parents, with 68 per cent worried about their child feeling the strain of having the latest device.

"Children who are starting secondary school are going from being a big fish in a little pond to a little fish in a big pond and they are suddenly having to find their way," said psychologist Linda Papadopoulos.

"On top of that, they have all these new communication tools and kids are starting to interact online, which can be very different from the face-to-face interactions they're used to.

"Unless parents take the time to outline the differences of communicating online and offline, and prepare them for how things can be misconstrued online, they run the risk of feeling isolated or even bullied."

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