At a time when city parents are against schools introducing electronic tablets, a survey has revealed that every second student in the city are using social media to do school assignments.
A nation-wide survey released on Friday, which interviewed 13,000 high school students, said that while 70.8% students in Mumbai said that they spent anywhere between 15 to 180 minutes on social networking sites every day, 48.2% used it for school work. Similarly, out of 47.7% students using video chat, 22.2% used it for learning a new hobby, 17.7% for school tutorials and 20.8% for assignments. Interestingly, the survey also found that 55.6% use video chat to talk to their parents or grandparents. Students create groups on social networking sites, post assignments and hold discussions there.
Interestingly, the social media penetration among youth in smaller towns was significantly higher than metros. Mumbai was fourth in children using social media for e-learning, students from tier-2 towns such as Pune (54.2%) and Vizag (53%) had more students using online media to complete their school work. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) conducted the survey across 15 cities which included metros as well as tier-2 towns.
Also students from towns such as Bhubaneswar (93%), Ahmedabad (91%) and Lucknow (91%) were more active on social media (Facebook) as compared to big metros such as Mumbai (77%) and Delhi (89%).
“Mini-metros are overtaking the metros in usage of gadgets and social media,” said Pradipta Bagchi, vice-president and head, global communications. “This could be because they do not have many malls and other options to keep teens occupied.”
The survey also found a slight drop in the number of city parents keeping tabs on their children’s online activity, compared to last year. Barely 50% respondents stated that their parents had access to their social media accounts, last year this number was 60%. “Parents have become more comfortable with children being online and use available software to deter them from accessing any unsuitable content,” added Bagchi.
Parents said that they are worried that excessive use of social media could pose health hazards for the children. “Viewing LEDs (light emitting devices) for too long causes dryness of the eyes and they also end up staying awake late at night,” said a parent from Airoli, who had participated in a protest against a school which was plannign to introduce tabs from class fifth.
“So city schools need to take cognisance of this trend and encourage students to stay off such devices.”