Technology is changing the lives of children

Teens playing origininal

A survey by Barnardo's has shown that less teenagers are sleeping well and heading outdoors

19th September 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

The number of teenagers who play outside, read books or get enough sleep has dropped sharply in comparison to teenagers from previous decades.

A new survey by Barnardo’s has revealed less than half (48%) of teenagers aged 13 to 15 play outdoors compared to more than three quarters (77%) of 18-24 year olds and nearly nine in 10 (87%) of 45-54 year olds when they were that age.

The study found barely half (54%) of those aged 13-15 read books. By contrast, 79% of adults aged over 18 said they did so when they were young teenagers. 

And just half of young teenagers believe they get sufficient sleep compared to two-thirds (66%) of adults who said they did so when they were aged 13 to 15.

The YouGov survey of more than 2,300 people for the UK’s largest children’s charity has shown the pronounced effects – both good and bad – that the rapid growth of digital in recent years is having on young lives.

Barnardo’s Scotland director Martin Crewe said: “This survey shows how quickly the growth of digital is changing our children’s behaviour.

“Whilst it’s fantastic that new technologies are broadening horizons and providing new opportunities, it’s vital we stay ahead of the digital curve to anticipate the problems it poses to future generations.

“To help children thrive in this brave new world, we need to equip them with the skills and knowledge to navigate this digital landscape.”

Access to the internet helps three-quarters (75%) of today’s young teenagers to do their schoolwork, compared with 44% of 25 to 34 year olds when they were the same age.

But a quarter of youngsters aged 13 to 15 said they had communicated with a stranger on social media. This included 27% of girls and 33% of 14 year olds.

The poll results coincide with the release of Childhoods in a Digital World, a paper by Barnardo’s that examines both the challenges and opportunities to children from the rapidly evolving technological world.

The study underlines the growing influence of social media and digital devices on relationships.

Almost as many young teenagers or their friends have dumped a boyfriend or girlfriend by text message or on WhatsApp (25%) as have done so in person (30%). Nearly one in seven (14%) had done so on Snapchat, 7% on Facebook and 2% by email.