Are our youth too plugged in?
Mobile device usage has exploded. Some people are questioning the proper use of these devices among children. Most teachers and parents agree that this technology is a valuable tool—but are students too “plugged in”? How much screen time is too much.
Devices in Schools
Teens acting as early adopters is no different when it comes to mobile device usage. More than half of all high school students carry a smartphone every day. A huge change from ten years ago when even ordinary cell phones were not that common among children.
Although schools sometimes struggle to manage smartphone usage in class, they are also embracing the technology as 17% of schools require the use of tablets or other devices in the classroom. Parents seem supportive of the technology with 90% saying that mobile devices make learning fun and 76% believe that tablets encourage curiosity.
Even though 71% of parents believe mobile devices provide irreplaceable learning opportunities for their children, 43% still say they need help finding the best apps for education, and 62% worry about the devices as distractions when not used properly. Perhaps, because of the concern over the possibility for distraction, only 52% state that schools make use of the advantages that mobile devices provide in the classroom.
Younger children are also being exposed to mobile devices more and more. Over half of kids between 5 and 8 years old have used a tablet, smartphone, or other touchscreen device. That number only drops to 39% among 2–4 year olds, and 10% among one year olds and younger.
Education vs. Entertainment
Despite the educational appeal, only 57% of families report tablet devices being used for learning and education. A more popular use is playing games, reported by 77% of families and 55% and 43% claimed for entertainment when travelling and watching TV shows or movies respectively.
There’s no doubt that mobile devices can be effective tools for teaching and learning, but teachers and parents should take care that the “good” outweighs the “bad.” Set clear expectations in the classroom for when and how the devices should be used. Teachers can also use these devices to monitor students’ progress in homework and subject mastery and communicate with parents any areas where their children may be struggling.
What are your thoughts? Is the rate of mobile adoption among children a good or bad thing?
Photo credit: CNN