Teenage use of mobile devices during the night

HMC, in partnership with online safety organisation Digital Awareness UK (DAUK), has conducted a survey of 2,750 pupils aged 11-18, looking into teenage use of mobile devices overnight and the impact this is having on their health and wellbeing.

The survey found:

  • Almost half (45%) of students admit they check their mobile device after going to bed. Of those:
  • A quarter (23%) check their mobile device more than 10 times a night
  • A quarter (25%) spend more than an hour on their mobile device after going to bed (just over 11% of the whole)
  • A third (32%) of these students’ parents are not aware that they check their mobile device after going to bed
  • Almost all (94%) of these students are on social media after going to bed
  • 75% are listening to music after going to bed
  • Over half (57%) are watching films
  • 70% of boys are playing games after going to bed
  • 10% of students said they’d feel stressed about missing out if they didn’t check their mobile device before going to sleep
  • 38% of students said they’d be curious to know what’s happening if they didn’t check their mobile device before going to sleep

Other finding show that:

  • 68% of students say that using their mobile devices at night affects their school work.
  • A quarter of students (25%) also say they feel tired during the day because of how often they use their mobile device at night
  • Almost half (42%) of students keep their phone next to their bed at night

These findings are particularly relevant at this time as safety group Internet Matters recently found that more children fall victim of cyberbullying at the start of the school academic year than any other time due to the fact many of them have increased access to mobile devices*.

Mike Buchanan, Chair of HMC and Head of Ashford School said:

“As teachers we are seeing the effects of device use every day. Mirroring adults, pupils are constantly using their phones, quite often for productive purposes. However if they are not socializing with each other, or are tired for lessons and not concentrating, we need to address that.

“Teachers, parents and indeed most adults are trying to get to grips with the new realities heralded by the increased use social media. HMC is committed to finding out more about how this affects pupils in all schools and use that knowledge to inform sensible and sympathetic policies.

“Schools will make their own minds up about the extent to which phones and other devices should be used in schools. However, we want to start a new conversation with parents about how to influence teenagers’ responsible use of phones and other devices both at home and at school.”

DAUK deliver innovative online safety solutions to schools throughout the country, tackling issues such as cyberbullying, sexting and hacking. They say these findings chime with what they’re seeing on the ground in schools.

Co-Founder Charlotte Robertson said:

“Students often tell us that they are exhausted due to the fact their mobile devices are flashing, buzzing and pinging throughout the night telling them what they’ve been tagged in, invited to or who’s messaged them.

Our research has found that almost half (42%) of students keep their mobile devices next to their bed at night, so it’s not surprising that technology can be such a barrier to proper sleep. This is why it’s invaluable for schools to be working with parents in educating students about the impact technology can have on physical and emotional wellbeing.”

To help students find ways to manage their screen time in the evenings, DAUK has developed some top tips, which can be accessed here: www.digitalawarenessuk.com/screentime