A study conducted in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which has been published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, has found that students were daydreaming for around 25% of their school day.
The research was conducted via video calls and played children a story and asked at six different points, ‘What were you thinking about just now? The story or something else?’
They were then asked what they had been thinking about instead, if they were not thinking about the story.
Rates of daydreaming were found to be broadly similar in girls and boys and in different age groups.
The study found daydreaming had more of an effect on how much children remembered the story than how much they liked the subject matter.
Dr Agnieszka Graham, the senior author of the study and a lecturer in applied developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Belfast, said:
‘In school, often children can get in trouble for mind wandering; it is sometimes viewed as a sign of disrespect or misbehaviour if they are not paying attention.
‘However, our research has found that children, like adults, are unable to concentrate all the time fully - it’s likely that their minds will wander for a substantial proportion of a typical school day.’
So what are they spending their time thinking about? Climate change, buying houses, their dream jobs? No, no, no. Much more important things.
The study found they mostly thought about eating, watching television, tiktok videos they had seen, Harry Potter and football.