One in five secondary pupils checks social media in the middle of the night, study finds

17th January 2017 at 16:08
sleep, tired, social media, academics, wiserd, research, computer
Checking social media at night means that teenagers are constantly tired at school, academics say

One in five secondary pupils regularly wakes up in the night to check social media, meaning that they are constantly tired at school, new research shows.

More than 900 pupils between the ages of 12 and 15 answered questions about how often they woke up at night to use social media, as part of a study conducted by Welsh academics. They were also asked what time they went to bed and woke up in the morning.

The pupils rated how happy they were with various aspects of their life, including school, friendships and their appearance.

One in five said that they almost always wake up in the night to log on. Girls were much more likely than boys to access their social media accounts in the night.

'It's all right to switch off'

Those teenagers who checked social media in the night, or who did not wake up at the same time each morning, were three times more likely than their peers with regular sleep habits to be constantly tired at school. And those pupils who were always tired at school were significantly less happy than their peers.

Sally Power, co-director of the Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods and lead author of the study, said: “Use of social media appears to be invading the sanctuary of the bedroom.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Headteachers, said that this was a problem that heads and teachers were worrying about increasingly.

“We have to think about ways they can give good practice to children,” he said. “It’s about education, and understanding the pros and cons of these things – it’s all right to switch off from time to time.”

But, he added, pupils are not the only ones who need this advice: “I think headteachers are constantly checking social media as well.”

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