According to the most recent NETendance survey released by the Academy of Digital Transformation last week, 82 % of Quebec parents whose children have had to stay at home because of the pandemic feel that their children have adapted well to school learning done online. Half of parents (49 %) also believe that digital technology should be more important in their children's school learning.
The shutter The trendy family The NETendance survey has been conducted for several years in Quebec. Its main purpose is to document the digital use of young people in primary and secondary school (6 to 17 years old). However, this is the first time that questions related to distance education and digital technology in the school context were included in the questionnaire. Three data collections were conducted during the months of March, July, and August 2021 with Internet and non-Internet parents.
This shows that:
- 94 % of high school youth (ages 13-17) and 85 % of elementary school youth (ages 6-12) stayed home from school to do online learning at some point since the start of the pandemic;
- 82 % of parent respondents (79 % of mothers and 84 % of fathers) feel that their children have adapted well to online academic learning;
- Among boys, 19 % of their parents reported finding their youth's adjustment more difficult compared to 13 % of girls;
- 29 % of parents said they were very comfortable supporting their child in their online learning, 47 % were somewhat comfortable. There were still 18 % who felt somewhat uncomfortable doing so.
- 49 % of the parents who responded consider that digital technology should play a greater role in their children's learning at school. It should be noted that more parents of children aged 6 to 12 (54 %) than those with children aged 13 to 17 (43 %) think that digital technology should play a greater role in their children's school learning.
Uses of electronic devices
Almost all (98 %) of 6-17 year olds now use electronic devices, whether at home or elsewhere; 71 % of them even use three or more electronic devices. Smartphones have continued to grow among this young audience, with 84 % of teens now owning one and 65 % of 6- to 12-year-olds.
It is worth noting that the tablet, which was the most popular electronic device among youth in 2020, has seen its usage rate drop in one year, from 71 % in 2020 to 62 % in 2021 for all youth. This has probably been abandoned in favor of the smartphone, which young people can more easily carry around with them. On the other hand, the computer has possibly become the main tool for online schooling. Its use has remained stable (70 % in 2021 and 69 % in 2020).
It should also be noted that boys continue to outnumber girls in their use of video game consoles, with 78 % of boys compared to 54 % of girls.
Time spent on the Internet
The amount of time spent on the Internet by youth ages 6-17 remained fairly stable in 2021 compared to 2020 (42 % vs. 40 %). Looking more closely, 42 % of high school youth spend more than 15 hours per week on average on the Internet. In contrast, 66 % of elementary school youth spend 10 hours or less per week online.
What types of activities for youth online?
Video viewing (e.g., YouTube) remains the most popular activity among youth on the Internet with 72 % (84 % of 13- to 17-year-olds and 62 % of 6- to 12-year-olds). In contrast, this one is in decline for the second year in a row. It was 86 % in 2019. Watching series or movies on the Internet (e.g., Netflix) is considered another type of activity that 49 % of youth engage in (60 % of 13- to 17-year-olds and 40 % of 6- to 12-year-olds). An activity that is also declining.
Considering the activities more identified with a learning context, note that:
- 59 % of teens and 27 % of 6-12 year olds report using the Internet for school purposes, such as research. These figures were 76 % and 51 % in 2020.
- 49 % (62 % in 2020) of adolescents and 17 % (27 % in 2020) of 6-12 year olds are in a school-based education program (full or part-time).
- 31 % of youth visit educational sites (38 % in 2020).
Other popular activities among elementary school youth include:
- Play online, alone or with friends (64 %)
- Visit entertainment websites (50 %)
- Communicate via video (e.g. FaceTime) (23 %)
- Send messages by text messages (22 %)
Here are the main activities for high school youth
- Play online, alone or with friends (71 %)
- Send text messages (69 %)
- Use social networks (viewing, posting, interaction) (63 %).
- Visit entertainment websites (61 %)
All in all, the social aspect and interaction with young people is still very present.
Ninety-three percent (93 %) of parents of children aged 6 to 12 apply rules to Internet use (both in terms of content consumed and screen time), compared with 74 % of parents of children aged 13 to 17.
Finally, 28 % of parents consider it very likely that their children will be bullied on the Internet in 2021, whether by peers or strangers. This is a marked increase of 13 % compared to 2020 when 15 % of parents shared this fear. Youth aged 6 to 12 years would be more at risk, with 35 % of parents of children in this age group considering it very likely that their children will be bullied, compared to 18 % of parents whose youth are aged 13 to 17 years. This statistic was already up sharply in 2020, compared to 2019.
The full report is available on the ATN website.
(Re)Read our report from last year as a comparison.