80% of parents are concerned about children’s access to smartphones

Posted 15th May 2024

This comes as the Online Safety Act has been criticised by bereaved parents’ groups for not going far enough for protecting children from online pressures. This is despite Ofcom warning social media sites they face being banned for under 18-year-olds if their algorithms do not sufficiently protect children from “toxic” content. 

This desire to protect children is reflected across the country. Adults fear how smartphones enable easy access to dangerous content, content that poses a great risk to children through increased cyberbullying (60 per cent), mental health problems (39 per cent) and easy access to pornography (35 per cent). 

There are also significant concerns over smartphones damaging social skills and behaviour. Most of the public (51 per cent) believe that smartphones risk children failing to learn how to interact properly in person. Similar numbers (48 per cent) say that smartphones cause kids to be constantly distracted. 

The Policy Exchange think-tank last month published research claiming schools that had a de facto ban on smartphones are “twice as likely to be rated Outstanding”.  

 A Government spokesman said: “The educational and social benefits of technology are immense but this should not come at the expense of children’s safety or disrupt their learning. Earlier this year we issued guidance on banning smartphones in schools to support teachers and keep schools as a place of learning.  

Featured image courtesy of Bruce Mars via Unsplash.com. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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