Children as young as nine check their phones repeatedly throughout the night because of the “fear of missing out”, a study has found.
One in ten of the 2,750 pupils surveyed said they checked their phones at least 10 times a night.
And 25% said they feel tired during the day because of how often they use their mobile device at night.
The study into children’s technology usage, by Digital Awareness UK (DAUK), and Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) found almost half of 11- to 18-year-olds admitted checking social media accounts such as Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube when they should be sleeping.
“The youngest (child checking their devices at least 10 times a night) is about nine, and many parents are very unaware of it,” said Charlotte Robertson, DAUK co-founder, according to PA.
Robertson continued: “One of the biggest topics around at the moment is excessive social media consumption and how it is affecting our physical and emotional wellbeing.
“A lot of pupils are waking up sometimes with over 100 notifications from conversations that have happened overnight.
“They want to be that person that is responding at 1am, and seen to be quite cool, to make sure they catch the joke – it’s a huge driver, that anxiety of wanting to know what’s happened.”
The study also found 68% said going on their mobiles at night affected their school work, while 32% of children with the most excessive use said their parents were unaware of their nocturnal habits.
The online safety organisation suggested having a “digital detox” and putting mobile devices away for 90 minutes before lights-out or keeping them out of the bedroom.
HMC chairman Mike Buchanan said, according to PA: “The data suggests those who do check their phones, they’re mostly driven by not wishing to miss out.
“Clearly there are some times when children are not concentrating because they are tired, and that has an obvious impact on their ability to keep up with what’s going on – there is a desire to stay within the group.
“It’s not that this (technology) is all horrible and terrible and that we should all be wringing our hands.
“It is more a case that here’s the reality, let’s use it and try to influence the use of technology in a positive way.”