Social Media Increases Sleep Disorder Cases among Children

Category: Health

Listening

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. sharply / ˈʃɑɚpli / (adv) – suddenly changing by a great value
    Example:

    The number of students who get colds sharply increases during winter.


  2. unrestrained / ˌʌnrɪˈstreɪnd / (adj) – not having limitations
    Example:

    Unrestrained eating of sweets can lead to serious health problems.


  3. restriction / rɪˈstrɪkʃən / (n) – a limitation
    Example:

    His dietary restriction includes limited consumption of junk food.


  4. parenting / ˈperəntɪŋ / (n) – the way parents take care of their children
    Example:

    My father constantly asks my grandmother for advice on parenting.


  5. irritable / ˈirətəbəl / (adj) – describing a person who gets annoyed easily
    Example:

    Children may become irritable when they don’t feel well.


Article

Read the text below.

Experts are blaming social media for being one of the reasons behind the rise of sleep problems among children.


The National Health Service (NHS) Digital revealed that more children aged 16 and below were being diagnosed with sleep disorders. NHS Digital is a health service unit of the United Kingdom that uses technology to improve the country’s healthcare. Recent data has shown that in England, the number of children that have sleep disorders rose sharply to 9,429 in 2017 from only 6,520 from 2012 to 2013.


Vicki Dawson, the founder of The Children’s Sleep Charity, blames children’s sleep issues on unrestrained gadget use before bedtime. Studies have shown that gadget screens emit blue light, which affects the body’s sleep hormone production and makes falling asleep difficult. Thus, Dawson emphasized that parents should set strict bedtime rules.


Likewise, Tanya Goodin, author of books on healthy use of technology, believes that parents should set restrictions on children’s gadget use. She said that increasing sleep disorders among children should be attributed to poor parenting and not to social media.


According to the NHS, children between six and 13 years old need at least nine to 10 hours of sleep, while older teens should get between eight to 10 hours. Anything less than these recommended hours could negatively impact children’s mental and physical development.


In addition, lack of sleep may increase the risk of obesity. Insufficient sleep causes tiredness, which leads to increased craving for unhealthy food such as sweets. Not having enough sleep may also cause children to be irritable and affect their ability to pay attention, which may make learning difficult.


Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think that social media restrictions will effectively reduce sleeping problems among children? Why or why not?

• Aside from setting restrictions, how else can parents reduce children’s social media use (e.g. spend more time with them, enroll them in extra-curricular activities)?


Discussion B

• Why do you think many children spend so much time on social media? Discuss.

• In your opinion, at what age should a child be given access to social media? Explain.