Saturday, December 2

The nocturnal abuse of the mobile increases school failure


Eight out of ten children and adolescents steal hours and quality of sleep, which punishes their attention, their memory and their ability to solve problems

Alfonso Torres

Pediatricians have prepared a document to alert Spanish parents to the serious risk of allowing their children to abuse technological devices every night, mainly mobile phones. This new and unhealthy habit, they warn, causes serious lack of sleep in children and adolescents, which leads to deficits in the physical and mental development of boys and an increase in school failure. It is what the specialists have begun to draw as the delicate triangle dream-technology-school performance.

It is being lost, they explain, all too often, the traditional and necessary children’s and youth’s habit of respecting a sleep schedule, especially on school days, which should not be less than eight hours. The extension of the use of the ‘smartphone’ or the tablet every night, in the room, especially in the two hours before turning off the light, has triggered among young people, more than any specific illness of the minor, the problems of lack of sleep and poor quality of night rest. Regardless of other serious problems, such as an addiction, the misuse of technology already causes more disturbances in daily rest than usual pathologies such as respiratory disorders, which affect 4% of schoolchildren.

Between 76.1% and 91.2% of students – an average of eight out of ten – confess to having problems sleeping and, what is even more dangerous, up to 15%, one out of six, assures that they do not he has no regular time to go to bed on school days. Nighttime screen abuse, pediatricians lament, “is making kids’ sleep time optional for the first time.” The theft of hours to daily rest or the dance of sleep schedules during the week is something frequent in this age group.

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“The presence of electronic devices in children’s bedrooms at night is significantly associated with reduced sleep duration and quality,” the report concludes. “If we add to this the presence of a sleep-disordered breathing and obesity – a disease that 15% of Spanish boys suffer from -, the consequences increase not only in academic performance, but also in metabolic function, since this association increases the tendency to a greater consumption of carbohydrates”, he warns.

The medical analysis, released on the occasion of World Sleep Day, which is celebrated today, reminds us that daily rest is as essential for the healthy development of children and adolescents as food itself. The reason is that it has a determining influence on the physical and neurological development of the child, on general learning and on the consolidation of memory in children and adolescents.

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The specialists, at the same time, clarify that “school performance is not determined solely by the child’s academic ability” and emphasize that among the factors that improve learning or, on the contrary, bring school failure closer “sleep plays a crucial role” . Performance in the classroom, they underline, is seriously compromised by repeated episodes of lack of sleep or by anarchic night schedules on school days, but it also has negative repercussions if during the weekends the habit of delaying more than two hours the usual time that boys go to bed on other days.

The problems of quantity and quality of sleep are manifested in weaknesses of all kinds for the student. They are, say pediatricians, a source of attention deficits, memory and problem-solving ability, and affect the ability to move or the lack of it.

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