Press release: today's teens top 10 excuses for missing homework

Gone are the days of dogs eating homework, our latest research investigates modern homework excuses.
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3 min

Gone are the days of ‘the dog ate my homework’ as new research has revealed the modern homework excuses that are being wheeled out by the nation’s teenagers.

Technology not working properly takes the bulk of the blame, appearing in half of the top 20 excuses list, with a fifth (18 percent) claiming that their WiFi was down and one in six (15 percent) regularly ‘forgetting’ their homework app password. 

A tenth (12 percent) have said that their computer kept crashing, with 12 percent unable to hand in work because their printer was not printing.

Not being able to connect the laptop to the printer (seven percent), phone running out of battery (five percent) and losing the laptop charger (five percent) also make an appearance in the top twenty modern homework excuses.

The classics ‘I thought it was due tomorrow’ (37 percent), ‘I did it but I left it at home’ (37 percent), ‘I didn’t understand what to do’ (34 percent) and ‘I thought it was in my bag’ (26 percent) were also popular excuses, along with being sick (25 percent), forgetting to check the homework planner (25 percent) and getting too much homework from another class (16 percent).

Over half (55 percent) admit they regularly don’t hand in homework on time, missing deadlines an average of four times a month.

 

It’s no surprise that two thirds (69 percent) of the 1,000 secondary school students, polled by us, agree that technology is a good excuse for not handing in written work, with a further 25 percent admitting they blame technology regularly. 

When asked for the REAL reasons they don’t do their homework, the main reason was getting distracted and losing track of time (31 percent), not understanding what to do (28 percent), not being bothered (28 percent) and not wanting to (25 percent). 

One in four (25 percent) of the teenagers surveyed admitted that they don’t do their homework because they find it too hard.

In fact, nine in ten (93 percent) admit that they get easily distracted by apps such as Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube when trying to focus on studies, an average of 14 minutes in. 

This distraction is so strong that 77 percent believe that it would help their concentration if their parents took away their phone when they are studying, with a further 15 percent already regularly asking them to take their mobile away.

A third (34 percent) think it is a good idea for mobile phone use to be banned in schools. 

The study also asked parents of teenagers about the issue of homework and found that a fifth (19 percent) admitted they had little or no involvement in their child’s coursework because they think it’s better for them to do it on their own (37 percent) and their children won’t let them help them (34 percent).

One in four (26 percent) admit they don’t understand what they are studying, while 87 percent say they regularly struggle to help their child because they don’t know the subject.

Maths (68 percent), chemistry (38 percent), physics (36 percent), French (25 percent) and biology (24 percent) all leave British parents scratching their heads.

Two thirds (63 percent) feel embarrassed that they are not able to help. 77 percent of teenagers, and 84 percent of their parents, believe that having a school tutor would help the quality of their homework enormously.

Florence Milner, UK Schools General Manager at MyTutor, said: “Our findings highlight not just the creative excuses today’s teens come up with, but, when we peel back the digital curtain, we see that these excuses often stem from not understanding the homework that’s been set or from battling the magnetic pull of social media.

“In a world where 'my laptop took a day off' joins the ranks of classic, timeworn excuses, the true challenge lies in staying motivated and engaged with learning. Parents are very aware that tailored tutor support can not only boost a student’s confidence and nudge grades upwards but also spark motivation and transform what was once a chore into a subject they truly enjoy.”

TOP 20 MODERN HOMEWORK EXCUSES, ACCORDING TO TEENAGERS:

  1. I thought it was due tomorrow – 37%
  2. I did the homework but left it at home – 37%
  3. I didn’t understand what to do – 34%
  4. I thought it was in my bag – 26%
  5. I was sick – 25%
  6. I forgot to check my homework planner – 25%
  7. My WiFi wasn’t working – 18%
  8. I had too much homework from another class – 16%
  9. I forgot the password to my homework app – 15%
  10. My computer kept crashing – 12%
  11. My printer wouldn’t print – 12%
  12. My laptop broke – 10%
  13. I finished my homework but deleted it by accident – 7%
  14. I couldn’t connect my laptop to my printer – 7%
  15. My phone ran out of battery so I couldn’t look it up – 5%
  16. I lost of laptop charger – 5%
  17. I spilled food on it and it got ruined – 5%
  18. My baby brother or sister ripped it up – 5%
  19. I lost my phone – 5%
  20. My mum/dad told me to do something else instead – 4%

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