‘Internet use hampers homework’

May 11, 2011, 9:57 PM GMT+0

One in five (20%)* parents in Great Britain believe their child’s school grades are suffering considerably due to the amount of time spent on social networking and other non-educational websites according to online research commissioned by phone and broadband provider, TalkTalk.

  • The study, which examined internet usage among children aged 6-17, found that 47% of parents felt that the use of social networking and other non-educational websites was having a negative impact on their children’s academic performance to some extent
  • This was worse amongst older children, with 62% of parents with children aged 12-17 admitting they are concerned about their children’s grades slipping as a result of online distractions
  • Despite most social networking websites having a ‘no minors’ policy, a significant 36% of parents of children aged 6-11 said they were also worried about the impact time spent on sites like that might have
  • Related Three Generations TalkTalk research found that half of kids aged 12-17 years use social networking sites every day and nearly 40% listen to music, whilst only 16% use the internet daily for homework
  • Of the 12-17 year olds that use the internet daily for both homework and social networking, an equal amount of time is spent on both (one to two hours on average)
  • 76% of parents said that they thought it was their responsibility to introduce restrictions on home PCs

‘No world without the Internet’

Will Gardner, Chief Executive of children's charity Childnet, said ‘Children under the age of 15 have never known a world without the internet. It’s revolutionised how they learn, play and communicate with each other.’

Similarly, Justine Roberts, Co-Founder and CEO of parenting website and forum Mumsnet, said that ‘helping our children stay safe on the internet is a new challenge for this generation of parents and anything that makes that easier has got to be a good thing’.

Giving parents greater control

The study coincides with the launch of HomeSafe, the UK’s first network level internet security service from TalkTalk. It also allows parents greater control than ever before over all devices in the household, by being able to block common sources of homework distraction, such as online gaming sites, at designated times of the day. HomeSafe is an opt-in service that works in the background to block viruses and undesired internet content before it reaches the home, removing the need to set up individual controls on different devices.

Celebrity mum, Fiona Phillips, Talk Talk’s ambassador for HomeSafe comments: ‘My two boys are nine and 12, and are always on the internet. Whilst I encourage the use of it for fun, games and socialising, it’s important to find a healthy balance, so important activities like homework do not get rushed or dropped altogether. The launch of HomeSafe has come at a great time for my kids, as it means I can take control of our home’s internet and have peace-of-mind that they’re enjoying it in a safe environment’.

*YouGov survey total sample size was 4427 adults, of which 710 were parents of children aged 6 to 17. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th - 18th April 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

**Talk Talk Three Generations survey of 19,828 people conducted on 17th March 2011

See the survey details and full results