File under: shock, horror or perhaps irony.
According to a press release from Global Secure Systems that I received today, it has "uncovered the alarming reality that UK school children are studying social networking websites during their lessons instead of what they should be concentrating on." In fact, the release goes on to reveal that a "staggering" 52 percent of the 1000 children surveyed confessed to visiting Facebook and similar sites during lesson time.
OK, first things first, the results are slightly twisted in favour of a high response as the survey itself was conducted through Facebook so the people taking part were already likely to be committed users. Secondly, given this single demographic it is highly unsurprising that so many kids should admit to visiting social networking sites on their laptops during class.
Doesn't make it right, of course, just not a great shock.
"I am disturbed, but not surprised, by the findings of this survey. There are two main issues; one is the safety of youngsters on the web and the second is the time that is frittered away. The time youngsters spend on the internet, and more specifically on social networking sites, is a huge challenge for parents and those of us in education. Says Toby Mullins, Head of Seaford College. "Youngsters are not only using lesson time but often quietly continue late into the night, leaving them short of sleep and irritable the next day. I think a study like this to highlight the problem is very timely. We now need to plan for a solution."
David Hobson, GSS managing director, added: "Kids are potentially wasting as much as two and a half hours a week of lessons on Facebook. I recognise that there is a place for social networking, with a whole new generation now relying on it to communicate, but not at the expense of an education. Schools could learn a lesson from industry and ensure school children productively use the Internet. Through the deployment of software, access to inappropriate websites can either be completely blocked, or limited to break time, economically and efficiently."