ICT and Me

The National Children's Bureau Northern Ireland (NCB NI), with the support of the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) have conducted the first ever piece of longitudinal research in Northern Ireland, studying the link between young people's levels of access to, and usage of, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and how this subsequently impacts on GCSE attainment.

Download the full report.

Video of key findings

In order to make the report's findings accessible to more people - and particularly young people - we have produced an animation presenting the report's key findings.

 

Headline findings

  • Access to a computer/laptop at home is not an issue for the vast majority of young people with at least 95% reporting having access. However, despite the fact that only 5% report not having access to a computer or laptop, when scaled up across the top 40 schools in terms of deprivation, c.1,000 young people are potentially without access, placing them at significant disadvantage.
  • Young people spend a significant amount of time online each day with one-third of young people spending four hours or more online in Year 1 rising to 40% in Year 2 of the study.
  • Social networking and gaming were identified by parents/carers and teachers as activities that could most negatively impact on young people's attainment. Findings from this research confirm a link between extent of gaming and GCSE attainment, e.g. only two-fifths (41%) of pupils who reported using a portable games player a couple of times a day achieved 5A*-C GCSE grades compared to over three-quarters (77%) of those who reported rarely using one. No relationship was observed in terms of social networking.
  • School staff were particularly concerned about extent of gaming, reporting a number of issues relating to attendance, punctuality and motivation. Particular issues identified in relation to male pupils with gaming addiction noted in some instances.
  • Internet safety is a particular concern for schools and parents/carers however young people themselves appeared more comfortable with their own safety online.