One in three children can’t imagine life without smartphone

Summary

A study by Hasselt students has shown the prevalence of smartphone ownership and use among primary school pupils

Playing outside still popular

About 40% of pupils in the third year of primary school have their own smartphone, according to research by communication management students at Hasselt’s PXL university college among 960 children in the city.

More than half (53%) of pupils in the fourth year have a smartphone, 66% in the fifth and 82% in the sixth year. The younger children are, the less aware they are of the risks related to using a smartphone.

Less than half of the pupils in the third year – generally eight- and nine-year-olds – are aware of the possible dangers, compared to 59% of those in the sixth year.

Most surveyed pupils had received a brand new smartphone. In general, they got it from a family member, usually their parents. However, 35% of pupils indicated that their parents don’t know what they do with their phone.

Smartphone use is very popular among children, with 34% of all pupils saying they couldn’t imagine their life without it. They mostly use it to play games and to call or send messages to friends.

However, a significant number of children – including those who have a smartphone – said their favourite activity was to play outside. For 40% of the children in the third year, they enjoying playing outside above anything else. The percentage decreases among older children, to 30% in the sixth year.