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Dublin: 16°C Monday 8 August 2022

Children who own mobile phones are doing worse in maths and reading

A national study has found that children who spend more time online and watching TV are scoring worse.

Image: Shutterstock/Syda Productions

CHILDREN WHO ARE spending the most time playing computer games, watching television and using the internet had the lowest mean scores in reading and mathematics.

That’s according to a study by the Educational Research Centre (ERC) which looked at 8,000 Irish primary pupils.

About a third of children in second class had smartphones but the authors of the study found that the children who didn’t have a phone had much higher reading and maths scores compared to their classmates who did.

More than 90% of sixth class students who took part in the study had a mobile phone and so ownership was not a factor on their performance.

The study also found that second and sixth class pupils who had televisions in their bedrooms had significantly lower achievement than pupils who did not.

National assessments of educational achievement take place every five years in Ireland, with second class and sixth class pupils from 150 primary schools participating in the 2014 round of the assessments.

While the study found that long periods of unsupervised time using the internet, watching TV or playing computer games had a negative impact, it also established that children who had access to broadband performed better than those who didn’t.

The findings of this study reinforce findings from previous national and international assessments that have demonstrated strong associations between pupils’ home and family lives and their reading and maths achievement.

One of the authors of the report, Dr Lauren Kavanagh, said, “The findings of this study show that there are many ways in which parents from all backgrounds can successfully support their children’s reading and maths achievement. Schools may have an important role to play in empowering parents to do so.”

Read: Most complaints made to children’s watchdog are about schools>

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