Mobile Phones Harm Children's Academic Development - ESRI

Owning a mobile phone could potentially harm a child's academic development, new ESRI research has claimed.

Researchers found that children who owned a mobile phone at age 9 performed less well in tests four years later. These children also scored four per cent less on average in standardised reading and maths tests.

Data from 8,500 children in the 'Growing Up in Ireland' study was used to analyse mobile phone ownership amongst school children.

It also found that 40 per cent of children owned a mobile phone by the age of 9, with those from socially disadvantaged schools more likely to use the devices.

Factors like socioeconomic class, which typically influence test scores, were also taken into account, with the same correlation between mobile phone ownership and test scores observed.

ESRI aims to use the results of the 'Later is Better: Mobile Phone Ownership and Child Academic Development' study to help schools in making decisions on whether and when to restrict access to personal devices such as mobile phones.

Commenting on the publication of the research, Selina McCoy, Associate Research Professor at the ESRI said: "This is the first time the ESRI has looked at the impact of mobile phone ownership on children's academic development. It is important to keep monitoring this going forward in order to provide evidence for the growing debate about the potential effects of screen time and mobile phone use of young people in Ireland."


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