UK parents want more digital skills learning in schools to prepare children for the modern world

  • 85% of parents believe learning digital skills is as important as reading and writing
  • Yet, 44% worry their child’s current knowledge doesn’t stretch much beyond scrolling social media
  • Three UK offers free digital skills training to children across the UK through its Discovery programme

New research from Three UK has revealed that 85% of parents believe that digital skills should be taught in schools with the same level of importance as reading and writing.

Three quarters (75%) of parents think that learning digital skills will have more practical use for children than subjects like history, while three in five (61%) believe that it would improve their children’s career prospects.

The research of 2,000 UK parents with children between the ages of 6 and 18 showed that 44% of parents worry that their child’s current digital skills do not stretch much beyond scrolling videos online.

Parents were asked to identify the skills that they would most like their children to learn as part of the school curriculum. 45% of parents said that coding and programming should be integrated into everyday learning, with other skills identified including:

  • Basic computer skills (62%)
  • Social media safety (54%)
  • Cybersecurity awareness (53%)
  • Typing skills (52%)

In addition, three quarters (74%) of parents fear that a lack of access to the latest technology may see their children left behind in the job market. Nearly the same figure (76%) believe a proportion of a school’s budget should be ringfenced, to ensure children have access to the latest in digital technology.

Sian Laffin, Head of Experience at Three UK, said: “Digital literacy opens up a world of opportunities for children, providing them with the skills to learn, create, and communicate in new and innovative ways. Three’s Discovery programme offers workshops to schools, giving young people the chance to gain and experience the skills essential for starting their digital journey as the upcoming working generation. Our aim is to help close the digital divide and ensure children have the foundation needed to succeed in an increasingly digital world.”

Respondents also identified their own lack of digital skills knowledge, with only 11% rating their digital skills as ‘excellent’ and 68% wanting a stronger understanding of how to protect themselves online.

To help address this lack of understanding, Three UK is offering digital skills training for children and adults in its 297 stores across the UK. The free sessions, delivered by Three UK’s Discovery programme, will offer advice on a range of topics from staying safe online to creating a website and coding.

The research also showed parents’ growing concern about the amount of time that children are spending interacting with screens. On average, parents believe that it is unhealthy if children spend close to five hours interacting with a screen each day. As a result, almost half of respondents (49%) admitted that their child’s screen time has caused friction at home. This is despite adults admitting they spend an average of 5.6 hours on screens each day.

You can find out more about Three Discovery and book a session in one of Three’s stores here:



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