UK teenagers would respect a tech break but are concerned about safety if UK schools ban mobile phones

Yubo, the leading platform for Gen Z to socialise online, has found that  92% of UK teenagers wouldn’t feel safe travelling to school without their mobile. 

Yubo’s poll of over 10,000 Gen Zers aged 13 to 25 looked at students’ opinion on the potential Mobile Phone Ban for English Schools following claims that mobiles can have a damaging effect on mental health and wellbeing when misused or overused

Many students aren’t aware of the proposal from Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, with 61.1% of GenZers revealing they haven’t heard about the UK Government’s plan to ban mobile phones in schools. 

When it comes to how Gen Zers daily phone habits at school, nearly half (47.8%) say they only use their phones during breaks and never in class, 18.1% say they only use their mobile phones when it’s necessary, such as contacting their parents about a lift home, and 6.8% say that they never use their phone during the school day.

However, nearly a third (27.2%) of respondents admitted that they are always on their phones at school, even during class and 12.7% even admitted that they have used their phones to cheat on a test at school.

The main reason Gen Zers are using phones at school is to message friends and family  (58.6%), using social media (52.9%), listen to music (50.9%) and play games (16.4%). However, two fifths (41.6%) said they used their phones to help them learn during the school day, by googling new information for example.

In fact, 88% of Gen Z respondents feel that phones should be utilised as educational tools in the classroom. Over 35% of teenagers would like to see phones being used for integrating educational apps and games into lessons, while 14% said they’d like apps to be used to centralise lessons and homework. With other forms of learning on the rise, 6.8% commented they would like to use their phones as tools to share educational podcasts in the classroom. 

When asked about how they would feel about a mobile phone ban only 1.8% of respondents said they would prefer to be at school without mobile phones, but over a third (36.6%) said they would find it ‘easy’ to be offline for 8 hours and 60% said they would respect a phone ban at school if implemented. 

Increasing worries around cyberbullying is another big factor that has sparked conversations around a potential ban as online bullying has risen by 50% over the course of the lockdowns. Sadly, nearly a third of respondents (30.6%) said they had personally witnessed online bullying or any peer-to-peer abuse on mobile phones at school.

Sacha Lazimi, CEO and co-founder of Yubo says, “Mobile phones are a part of everyday life, so it is important that children are taught how to use their mobiles responsibly and unlock the positive benefits connection can bring. 

As a social platform we also have a part to play in ensuring that when young people do use their phones they are protected and educated on how to behave responsibly online, not just on Yubo, but on any social media or online forum. That is why at Yubo we take safety extremely seriously. Yubo has recently introduced new safety features such as Muted Words which allows a user to block any unwanted words or phrases that could trigger upset and we will continue to proactively work with our safety and moderation experts to ensure Yubo is a safe space to make new and meaningful connections.”

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