Teenagers who engage with social media when they should be asleep risk damaging sleep patterns and increasing their risk of depression and anxiety, research shows.
A study by Glasgow University of more than 460 teenagers at a secondary school questioned the youths about their general social media habits, and in particular their night0time use of sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Researchers found that social media use in general affected the quality of sleep but it was those who logged on at night to respond to alerts who were particularly affected.
Dr Heather Cleland Woods’ study found children as young as 11 were on Facebook and Twitter and using them for what was a considerable amount of time. Some of the children studied were even using multiple devices such as a phone and a tablet to view social media sites simultaneously.
It does remain unclear, however, whether it is social media that is damaging sleep, or whether teenagers turn to social media because they can’t sleep for another reason.
Another study of 1000 teenage girls found they sought comfort from social media when they are anxious or worried.
It found that nine out of 10 had experienced stress in the past year and were more likely to turn to social media than to their friends of parents.
Do you think our children’s social media habits affect their sleep?