Students hindered by online risks


A new report reveals that one in five students often feel unsafe or worried by easily-found inappropriate content when using the internet for exam preparation, coursework or homework.

And as MPs debate whether Internet Service Providers should be doing more to block adult content, nearly a third of students admit to having inadvertently seen unsuitable content when researching for schoolwork, with two in five saying that it is “very easy” to access this type of material. 

But while many students are experts when it comes to using the latest technology, many are concerned that they are not being equipped to use it effectively for schoolwork, with one in five saying that their school has not taught them how to research safely online.

With many admitting to not knowing how to research online, it’s not surprising that many students also find it difficult to find age-appropriate or reliable sources for their exam preparation. 

Two in five students say it is difficult to know whether the websites they use are trustworthy, while 57 per cent state they find it difficult to understand the information they find online. Meanwhile half of the students questioned said there are not educational websites specifically aimed at 11-16 year olds.

A lack of understanding of how to research online is also forcing many students into bad habits. More than a third say they never consider who has published the information they are accessing, while half concede they usually just rely on sites which appear at the top of a Google search.

Ian Grant, from Encyclopædia Britannica, which published the report, said: “As schools integrate new technologies into the classroom it’s imperative that e-Safety principles are integrated as a key aspect of the curriculum, particularly as students are often several steps ahead when it comes to using the latest smart devices and software."

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