Almost Half Of Children Aged 14 And 15 Say They Are Addicted To The Internet

Children are taking their smartphones to bed and spending up to three hours a day online, according to a new study.

1. Kids these days don’t just enjoy being online – some of them say they can’t live without it.

nensuria / Thinkstock

A survey of 2,228 schoolchildren aged 11 to 17 – carried out by the Tablets for Schools charity – found that, across all ages, four out of 10 children say they they feel they are sometimes addicted to the internet.

This figure rises with age, with half of year 10 pupils (aged 14-15) admitting they are addicted. The number falls away slightly at 15 and 16.

One girl in year 7 (aged 11-12) told researchers: “I can never get off it, and at night I stay up for like two-three hours after I’m meant to be asleep.”

However, many of the children who took part in the study were very positive about the internet generally, pointing out its role in learning and combating boredom and loneliness.

Only 6% said they “could not function” without it or would get upset it if they can’t use it.

2. And more than three quarters of older children access the internet via smartphones and tablets in bed.

Tablets for School

3. The number one thing they do is chat to friends.

Tablets for Schools

4. A boy in year 8 (12 to 13) gave this researchers this gem of wisdom on the benefits and risks:

The internet is like the world; it can be horrible, it can be amazing, but you choose which way or path you take. Sometimes you make new friends, but sometimes friends are no longer friends. People need to choose how they use it and look at it: for games; for social use; they choose.

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Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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