Locals reflect online survey

By Shauni James, Pippa Brown

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Three million Kiwis spend the equivalent of two working days online each week.
Three million Kiwis spend the equivalent of two working days online each week.

Rotorua's Hariata Hapeta is on her phone for about 15 hours a day.

She said it was used for a mixture of purposes including texting and calling but primarily to interact on Facebook.

"I've been on Facebook since I was about 11. I haven't been able to part with my phone since." said the 19-year-old stay-at-home mum.

Her comments come as a new report reveals two-thirds of New Zealand's online population access digital content via a smartphone.

The Nielsen New Zealand's Connected Consumer Report also found 70 per cent of online New Zealanders' own a mobile device and 3.1 million New Zealanders will spend the equivalent of two working days online each week.

As opportunities for engaging online grow it poses unique challenges for schools when digital learning is now a fact of life and even Early Childhood Learning centres embrace touch screen technology for learning.

Rotorua Principals' Association president and Ngakuru School principal Grant Henderson said more than 70 per cent of primary school pupils engaged in digital learning at school. He said digital devices worked well in a classroom if used to enhance learning and as a resource to "work smarter".

The school also runs a robust physical education programme to keep the children active.

"If you don't add the physical component the children will just sit there," he said.

Students are also taught conventional ways of research and learning and utilise the school library, "where there is not a device in sight - the kids call it 1970s learning".

John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said recent surveys suggested 80-90 per cent of secondary students had access to digital devices.

"We've moved on from the days when the principal would confiscate or try and ban devices - we've recognised the educational benefit outweigh the risk."

He said the school operated a high-trust model and educate around the dangers of cyber bullying and the vast majority of students are responsive to that.

But not all locals are keen to jump on the technology bandwagon. Office manager Joyce Ranapiri said she did not have internet at home and would never use Facebook.

"I don't have an interest in it.

"I don't use my phone for internet, just calls and texts.

"I just think it's a waste of time, I would rather sit and read a book."

The figures:

* Two-thirds of NZ's online population access digital content via a smartphone.

* Almost nine in 10 New Zealanders use social media, three-quarters use Facebook on a monthly basis.

* Nearly two in five use at least three devices every week

* Nine in 10 use social media and over half watch internet TV

- Rotorua Daily Post

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