IT IS one of the habits which most divides the old and the young.
The obsession teenagers have with their mobile phones leaves many older people shaking their heads.
Now it is revealed that children as young as nine are so dependent on their phones that they check their devices throughout the night because of the “fear of missing out”.
Pupils said they risked turning up for school tired and unable to concentrate after checking their devices while they were in bed, with one-tenth of those polled doing so at least 10 times a night.
The study into children’s technology usage – the first of its kind involving English state and private school pupils at night time –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.
But Digital Awareness UK (DAUK), which worked on the survey with the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), said they found anecdotal evidence from classrooms of children as young as nine checking their phones at least 10 times a night.
Asked about the phenomenon of the fear of missing out – typically referred to as “FOMO” on social media – Charlotte Robertson, DAUK co-founder, said: “The youngest (child checking their devices at least 10 times a night) is about nine, and many parents are very unaware of it.
“One of the biggest topics around at the moment is excessive social media consumption and how it is affecting our physical and emotional well-being.”
HMC chairman Mike Buchanan said: “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.”