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Late-night social media use 'impacting pupils' performance in school'

20/01/2017 Joanna

Secondary school students with a habit of late-night social media usage may be at risk of poorer performance and lower overall happiness, according to a new study.

Carried out by the Wales Institute for Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods and published in the Journal of Youth Studies, the report showed that many young people are losing sleep because of their use of social media, leaving them feeling tired at school and negatively impacting their overall wellbeing.

For this study, more than 900 pupils aged between 12-15 years were asked about how often they woke up at night to access social networks, while they were also asked about their bedtimes and hours of waking. The participants also offered information about how happy they were with various aspects of their life, including their education, friendships and appearance.

It was shown that one-fifth of students reported almost always waking up to check social media, with girls much more likely to do so than boys, with those who lost sleep over social media or who did not wake up at a regular time each morning around three times more likely to feel constantly tired at school.

The study also showed that those who were constantly tired at school were also significantly less happy on average than other young people, showing that growing concerns about nighttime use of social media among educators may be justified.

Professor Sally Power, co-director of the Wales Institute for Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods in Cardiff, said: "A small but significant number of children and young people say that they often go to school feeling tired - and these are the same young people who also have the lowest levels of wellbeing.

"One in five young people questioned woke up every night and over one-third wake up at least once a week to check for messages. Use of social media appears to be invading the sanctuary of the bedroom."

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