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Schools 'losing teaching time due to smartphone disruptions in class'

14/09/2017 Joanna

A new study has indicated that schools are struggling to cope with the disruption that smartphones and social media are causing in the classroom.

Online infrastructure provider Nominet commissioned an Opinium survey of 500 UK secondary school teachers, finding that they lose 17.2 minutes of teaching time every day to disruptions caused by social media or smart devices - equivalent to 86 minutes per week, or more than 11 days over the year.

When asked about the cause of these disturbances, 46 per cent of teachers said pupils use social media apps during classes, while 40 per cent have seen pupils' confidence damaged by social media issues. Meanwhile, 27 per cent have observed cases of cyber bullying in class, with 50 per cent saying social media is contributing to pupils achieving lower grades than they could.

Although 58 per cent are trying to educate their pupils on the associated risks that smartphones and social media can pose during informal chats or one-to-one tutor time, 24 per cent are not confident that they have the right skills to do so.

Meanwhile, although 83 per cent of teachers now have social media and mobile device policies in place in the classroom, four in ten say these policies are difficult to enforce, particularly given how quickly new technology and social trends can emerge and evolve.

Russell Haworth, chief executive officer of Nominet, said: "With the new school year just underway, this research should be a wake-up call for all of us about the impact social media is having in schools.

"It should force us to look at how we can better support teachers to manage the social media problems they face each day in the classroom, as well as safeguarding our children."

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