One-in-five children wake in the night to check social media

Photo: Dave Thompson/PA Wire
Photo: Dave Thompson/PA Wire
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ONE IN FIVE schoolchildren wakes up in the night to look at social media, a new study has warned.

Academics in Cardiff found that youngsters aged between 12 and 15 will get up at least once a week on a school night to check sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

And, unsurprisingly, more than half of those reaching for their smartphones when they should be fast asleep said they were “almost always” tired in classes the next day.

Dr Kimberley Horton, from the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research Data, (Wiserd) said the study showed that it was important for parents to discourage adolescents from using social media during the night.

She said: “Having a regular waketime and using social media during the night appear to be more important in determining whether a young person is always tired during the day than the time they go to bed, how long they spend in bed and having a regular bedtime.

“No amount of effort to develop regular bedtimes or to lengthen the time in bed would seem to be able to compensate for the disruption that this can cause.”

The Wiserd researchers asked 848 school pupils in Wales how often they woke at night to use social media - with 22 per cent of year eigh pupils and 23 per cent of those in year 10 answering ‘almost always’. A further 14 per cent of the younger students and 15 per cent of the older group said they did so at least once a week.

A spokesman said: “Those surveyed were also asked how often they felt tired at school. More than half of those who reported ‘almost always’ waking to use social media also said they ‘almost always’ go to school feeling tired.