Hugh: Research Shows Pre-Teens Are Losing Equivalent of One Night of Sleep a Week Due to Social Media
Written by Hugh Campbell on September 19, 2022
Social media is no good for your sleep schedule. I think that much is generally agreed upon, but the effects of screen time are especially apparent for pre-teen kids. According to new research done by De Montfort University in England, 10- and 11-year-olds are losing the equivalent of one night of sleep a week largely due to spending that time looking at a screen instead. Subjects in the study were found to be getting 8.7 hours of sleep a night, while the recommended amount is between 9 and 12 hours a night. About 7 in 10 kids who took part in the study spent over 4 hours a day on social media platforms, and most use those apps shortly before bed. 12.5% of the study’s subjects admitted to looking at social media in the middle of the night or when they should be sleeping. Dr. John Shaw commented on the impact loss of sleep has on cognitive and biological development, saying “it’s very important for emotion processing, memory consolidation, creativity, and problem solving. When you’re not getting enough sleep, these processes don’t get a chance to occur.” So which apps are primarily keeping kids up? The most common culprits are TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram. A similar study revealed YouTube to be the biggest time-waster for kids.
I think most people are guilty of doing some scrolling before bed, so what should parents do to put their kids in the best position to succeed? One tip is to create a peaceful sleep environment, meaning making the bed as comfortable and inviting as possible with phones or tablets on the other side of the room, if present at all. Setting a cut-off time for electronics of 1-2 hours before bed is also extremely helpful, and making all household beds a ‘no phone zone’ makes it easier not to slip up. The third tip offered is to set a bedtime routine, since planning out times to brush your teeth, get in pyjamas, and read a book limits opportunities for distractions.