Almost three-quarters (70%) of parents of young children approve of them being given access to technology before starting school, according to a new poll.
The perceived importance of technology’s role in modern teaching is further underlined by parents’ rating the quality of IT equipment and training as being more important than the headteacher’s skill set when ranking the criteria for choosing a primary school place for their child.
The figures come from a survey of 1,017 parents and carers of nursery-attending children, conducted by Sapio Research on behalf of education show, Bett.
In other findings, developing coding and IT skills was rated highly by more parents (18%) than artistic (15%) or musical (14%) capability.
Using technology and online data easily and safely was a leading priority for 22% of parents.
That parents see this has to be both welcomed and greeted with some caution. We must make certain that the access applies to all and not just the few who can afford it – Dr Ger Graus, Bett Global Education Council
Despite the strong majority advocating children having access to technology in their pre-school years, the research shows that most parents believe there is such a thing as being too young to use it.
Barely a third (34%) thought that children should start using tablets, computers and smartphones from the age of three at home, while only 12% advocated access for the under-three’s.
Twenty-four per cent approved of giving children the opportunity to use tech at ages three and above in a “controlled environment” at nursery.
“Technology in this day and age is as much part of everyday life as getting up in the morning and going to bed at night,” said Dr Ger Graus, an education adviser and member of Bett’s Global Education Council. “This applies to all ages, including the very young.
“That parents see this has to be both welcomed and greeted with some caution. We must make certain that the access applies to all and not just the few who can afford it.
“We must also ensure that we are talking about tech-for-good, as opposed to merely good tech. And we must understand that tech does not and cannot replace the teacher, the parent, the friend or playing out in the rain – it adds value, often with awe and wonder.”
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